Throwback Thursday – Takedown

Throwback Thursday Official

Wow… Yes you see that right, it’s actually a new ‘Throwback Thursday’ post. I (Evan) became extremely busy these past few months with school to the production of our latest big short film ‘Savage’ which kept me from doing our weekly post like throwback.

Well here we are in August, there’s no films to be shot, no classes to focus on, no clients with videos to be made. So it’s ample time to post a new Throwback Thursday!

When we left off in April with the last throwback we were looking back at 2007 when Insane LLama really took making movies more seriously. To be more precise we looked back at the two short films that basically started us with the Facility duo. Continuing after that we started to make short films on a more regular basis, especially once school got out in the summer of 2007 and we had way to much time on our hands. There were a couple other short films made during this time, but they were nothing special so I guess I’ll save those for another throwback post once we scrape everything out of the barrel on our history.

In this post we go to late summer 2007 when a Hollywood film starring Matt Damon came out. This movie of course is the kickass action flick ‘Bourne Ultimatum’, the last release of the Bourne trilogy before the whole Jeremy Renner ‘Legacy’ and now return of Damon in the unoriginal named ‘Jason Bourne’.

The Bourne series was a favorite of all my brothers, father and myself; with us seeing the first two installments in theaters when released. The third segment was no different with all of us pretty eager to see how everything ended in the series. We went and saw the film the weekend it came out. The movie easily met our expectations and you can say may even exceeded them. Young Eliot and I were easily inspired by the feel of the movie, from the shaky camera to the blue color correction (Both later incorporated into our own movies). Though there was one aspect that inspired us the most: the fight scenes. The hand to hand combat in the movie was just completely badass and invigorating. It was like nothing we had seen from Hollywood action films before, the intensity, the brutal feel, and the sound design.

We were definitely inspired… Which brings us to.

Takedown 1

Takedown. The very next day after seeing the third Bourne, Eliot, my older brother Ethan, and I decided to do our best to emulate the style of the movie. We were basically going to make a fight scene.

What ensued was our most ambitious film yet with hand to hand combat between Eliot and myself. We also tried some stunts which included one where I throw Eliot across a table knocking down some cleverly placed empty bottles and containers.

Takedown 3

We tried our best to make the fight as realistic as it could be, which watching now may seem a little off with punches seeming weak and not hitting their target. Us being young didn’t know the tricks we know now to make everything seem better. Which includes speeding up footage and the most use tricked in fights which is to cut away a few frames between the punch being thrown and hitting its target.

During the end sequence in the bathroom we decided to go all out, which during the melee I hit Eliot’s head on the toilet hard by accident. He played it off and continued, with Eliot’s character eventually being defeated by me. I kill him off by slamming a door against his head multiply times. This part made our close friend Zach Schnieder laugh his off literally every time he viewed it, even to this present day.

Takedown 2

For how young we were and inexperienced the short came out pretty damn good. The film did pretty successful on our Youtube channel when it was released. It became one of our most viewed shorts and gained us quite a few subscribers by our standards.

Like many of our early films it was taken off the main Insane LLama channel when we purged all of the shorts that had aged and contained younger us.

Don’t worry though it has been re-uploaded on Insane LLama Young, Old and Shitty for everyone to view its glory. Watch it and be entertained by some kids kicking the shit out of each other. Here’s the link with it also being embed here. Enjoy!

Link To Video – Takedown

Well I hope you enjoyed this look back at Takedown and early Insane LLama history. I’ll hopefully be back next week with another throwback. I also hope to do a better job giving insight into the short, this week I’m strapped for time and need to pack for a trip to Minnesota since we’re leaving very soon.

Thanks and continue doing what you do!

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Throwback Thursday – Takedown

Throwback Thursday – Facility Duo

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday is back after a small hiatus! This time we go back to spring 2007 to look at a series called Facility. The shorts that started an era for us!

facility2

April 2007 saw Insane LLama create the short ‘The Alamo’, showcased in our previous throwback. The Alamo started what we consider modern Insane LLama and jump started our thirst to create short films. Nearly a week after The Alamo was released we all got together to film a new short; which ended up being ‘The Facility’.

The Facility is about an agent played by Spencer Morris who is tasked with infiltrating a secret cloning facility. Spencer successfully gets into the facility but once in is attacked by the clones played by Eliot and Evan. A massive shootout ensues with Spencer taking out many clones, but when one goes down, brand new clones come out to attack. After some battles Spencer tries to escape but is knocked out and taken hostage. The end scene sees Spencer confronted by the two original clones where they tell him their plan and that there will be a bomb going off, blowing up the facility and killing Spencer. After unmasking Spencer, Eliot and Evan leave, which then Spencer reveals he kept scissors in his pocket that he uses to get loose. Facility ends with an intense decision by Spencer to decide which wire to cut to stop the bomb.

facility1

This short was mainly made because I (Evan) had gotten some stock muzzle flash effects. The effects for the short were the first special effects we had ever done; which you can tell now by how shitty they are. I had no clue how to use Adobe After Effects and after browsing Videocopilot’s website for a long time I finally figured out how to do the effects.

Once completed we all thought the short was pretty fricken badass. Here’s the short for everyone to enjoy!

Link to Video – The Facility

We had enjoyed making The Facility so much that literally about two days later the sequel Facility 2 was made.

Facility 2 starts off right where the first one ended with Spencer cutting the wires to the bomb. Spencer regains his composure and finds a pistol in a closet, which he uses to break the lock to the room. The movie cuts to the main clones Eliot and Evan outside where they wonder why the bomb didn’t go off. In response they send in two clones to check out what is going on. A shootout erupts with clone Eliot getting  shot and killed by Spencer. Soon a fist fight breaks out between Evan and Spencer, with Spencer eventually winning and shooting Evan in the head.

facility4

Spencer makes his escape out of the facility where two more clones attack him. Spencer does a pretty cool slow motion jump off our patio, which upon landing a clone throws a grenade that explodes. Spencer easily avoids the explosion and escapes into the nearby forest, while the clones retreat to alert the generals or lead clones. Facility 2 famously ends with a cliffhanger where Spencer hears a twig snap and turns around to see what it is.

facillity5

Facility 2 basically followed the same plot and structure as the first one. The biggest and most ambitious aspect of the second Facility was the grenade explosion effect. At the time we thought it was pretty dang cool with even friend and follow LLama Brad Delfeld saying that the grenade won him over. Like most early stuff when you look back at them now it’s obvious that the effect was badly done.

Here’s the video.

Link To Video – Facility 2

With Facility 2 ending in a cliffhanger we planned to make a third and final installment of the trilogy. The third one was in planning a pretty ambitious project for us with a massive battle at a big dirt hill in our local park planned. For unknown reasons the final chapter was never made, which is very unfortunate.

The Facility series is some of our earliest planned work where we learned a lot in the process. The series also started a period where we did many guns and shootout videos since what kids wouldn’t want to create action gun flicks.

facility6

Here’s to the Facility series! Well that’s our throwback to some of our classics. We hope you enjoyed reading a little about our past. Be on the lookout for future Throwback Thursdays; we’re starting to get into the good stuff of our past. Thank you and see you next time!

 

Throwback Thursday – Facility Duo

Throwback Thursday – The Alamo

Throwback Thursday

Here’s our weekly Throwback Thursday for Insane LLama Productions! This week we go back to the short that started modern Insane LLama; a short we created back in the spring of 2007 called ‘The Alamo’.

Insane LLama had created a couple shorts in late 2006, but the process of making them wasn’t taken much seriously; the thought of making movies full-time hadn’t come across our minds yet. I (Evan) was in the 7th grade in the spring of 2007, which during this time I was assigned a project with the topic of the Texas Revolution and the Alamo. I noticed when the rubric for the project was given out that one choice one could do is make a video. Of course I would rather film something and just present the DVD than make a speech and presentation in front of the whole class. I teamed up with my good friend Jay and we were off to make a cool video.

alamo1

We gathered a decent sized group of neighborhood friends and headed to the park behind my house, where there was a big dirt hill we intended to use as the Alamo. Jay and I as it was our project, acted as the Texans. Eliot would join us too, while everyone else were to be the attacking Mexican army. We decided to use some old firecrackers as gunfire hitting around us. One friend lit and threw the fireworks pretty close to us as we ran, when exploded they startled us as we had to dodge out of the way.

alamo2

We finished the shoot up pretty quickly and I went into editing. What I saw was pretty shitty, this wasn’t going to be the cool video I was going to show my class, a re-shoot was needed. A few shots from the first day were kept in the final video which can be seen as the darker and more dreary looking shots in the beginning. All the sunny look shots are part of the re-shoot day. For these re-shoots we gathered an even larger group of friends and headed back out to the dirt hill. I’m pretty sure to satisfy a requirement of the project we decided to make a story about a Texan who runs from the Alamo and is later interviewed. We shot all of the battle scenes and death of all the Texans first. I had a cool stunt shot of me falling down the hill near the end.

At the time all of the battle scenes we made turned out badass to us; which with some time we can obviously see that it was pretty cheesy. The interview was the last scene we filmed, which ended up getting the most laughs from Jay’s and my classes. In the scene our friend Cody put on a wig and a pillow under his shirt and pretended to be Oprah. He improved some lines which included the last one he said about a pregnant 13 year old girl. My history teacher didn’t approve of this line after seeing the first play through of the video in my class; he turned off the TV before the line in Jay’s class.

alamo3

The reaction to the short was positive in both classes shown; some of this may be because of how every other video that was shown turned out pretty terrible and awkward. Jay’s and my history teacher loved the video besides the last line of course; he especially pointed out how the sound effects were pretty cool, more specifically the Wilhem scream we used at a point. The teacher asked if he could keep the DVD to show to future classes as an example; which we said yes to since more people to see our work the better.

It got even better at the end of the month when our history teacher made both Jay and I the history class students of the month. The honor came with a certificate and ribbon. The Alamo video had a even bigger effect on us though. The video started our passion to make shorts all the time, we loved making movies now. We would shoot and release over 20 shorts in the rest of the year. We now always wanted to make movies which ever since The Alamo, we have never gone at least a few months between a new short being filmed.

The Alamo short has aged and is not any good now, but this relic of the past has a place in the Insane LLama history, it will never be forgotten. Enough typing, here’s the video.

I hope you enjoyed this look into the past, if you enjoyed it be on the lookout for the next throwback. See you next time!

Throwback Thursday – The Alamo

Throwback Thursday – 2006

Throwback Thursday

It’s Saturday! Thursday came and went and I had no time to make our Throwback Thursday post; better late than never, so let’s have a throwback! For our third official post I have many titles I can post about; but simply many went unedited and are still on all the mini DV tapes we have sitting around. For these post I’m kind of going in the order we made our shorts, but I’m also trying to go in a order of how we learned film-making techniques.

Anyway let’s get to this weeks’ shorts. This time we head back to spring/summer 2006, some of Insane LLama’s earliest filming days. We consider the formation of Insane LLama to be in 2006 since that’s when our older brother Ethan came up with the name Insane LLama Productions; but also our official Youtube channel was created in April 2006; mere months after the creation of Youtube.

The 3 shorts I’m sharing here are some of the first that had an actual plot; yet they still had long takes and little very editing, common in our early days. These shorts were more made because we just wanted to have fun.

barfight

The first short was part of a series called ‘Bar Fight’, each one we had a bunch of friends just get into a long continuous fight in the basement of our neighbors house which indeed had a bar. Pretty much I would just say action and everyone would fight and scream. Nothing else to really say; just watch and see young us do some stupid things.

Link To Video – Bar Fight

Zombies

The next short was made on the same day as the first Bar Fight. We had some fake blood sitting around from Halloween and decide to make a zombie movie. It came out as a long 11 minute video where literally the two survivors keep running from the zombies and nothing really happens. No one knew what to do so everything was made up on the spot. A young Eliot can be seen as the only zombie that was getting into it.

Link To Video – Zombies

Band

The last short here is called ‘Band’, which follows a small band named ‘Sprinkles Over Idaho’ as they go through the struggles of making music. There’s the early days, the record contract, then eventually the drugs that change them. Like the other two shorts we didn’t really know what we were doing, yet it was fun as fuck. We consider this one to be a classic. Just watch it, maybe you’ll get a giggle or something.

Link To Video – The Band

That’s all for this week’s Throwback; short, simple and not our best. The upcoming weeks we will start to get into the real stuff that made Insane LLama, while also going into more detail about how the shorts changed us since 2007 was when we made film-making a full time gig.

Thanks! See you next Thursday.

Throwback Thursday – 2006

Throwback Thursday – Halo 2 Machinima

Throwback Thursday

A day late but oh well, here’s our next Throwback Thursday! In this edition we’re going back to 2006 when Halo 2 was king. Everyone remembers LAN parties with Halo 2, long nights going into the early hours of the morning, zombies, matchmaking, mods, and whatever crazy game types we could come up with. All of that was great, but another aspect of Halo 2 that a huge community grew out of was machinima; or video game movies. Halo 2 was probably the greatest game for making videos with the ability to have no HUD and other small aspects like putting your gun down and the ability to move just your characters head to seem like it’s talking.

Insane LLama followed all of the big names in Halo machinima; from the big names like RoosterTeeth, Hollywood Halo, and my personal favorite Jamie98s, but also all of the small community machinima clans that posted their videos to the old Halogrid forums. I watched so much Halo 2 machinima during the period; at one point I became a movie reviewer on the old Halo.Bungie.org; there they had a system where people would submit their movies and 10 reviewers would rate and give feedback on the video, if the video got a 70% or higher, the video would be posted on the front page of the website, which every Halo machinima clan strived for since making the front page would gain you huge publicity. Like all things that sound good in principle this would eventually crash and burn, thus in the end be abandoned when the system became corrupt as reviewers started giving high marks and passing work submitted by friends, people they knew, and even their own work.  All of that is just some back story or history I thought was cool to share, back to Insane LLama at the time; we saw all of the amazing Halo videos coming out and decided that it would be fun to make our own. So we set forth on the task!

I researched into everything one would need to make machinima, a little looking and I noticed most people used the Pinnacle Dazzle series of capture cards, the Dazzle 90 to be exact was the most popular in the machinima community. I set off for the old Circuit City which ended with me buying a decent capture card, one part of the almighty popular Dazzle series, precisely the more upper end version of their capture cards, the Pinnacle 500 USB. For about 100 bucks, the package I ended up getting was a film-makers bundle that came with the capture card, a shitty microphone that we never used, and a decent sized green screen we would use as our primary green screen for about 10 years. It took me awhile to figure out all the inputs and wiring going from the Xbox, television and computer, but I finally saw the game pop up in my capture program and we were ready to get at it.

This was 2006/2007 so all of us were still pretty young teenagers that were just getting into film-making, so the films we did eventually make on Halo 2, I’d say are pretty shitty; but we had a complete blast making them, plus there were some lessons learned that would be put forth into our late live action movies. Anyway let’s show the magnificent work we drew out of Halo.

Impossible

The first one I’m sharing is the first machinima we ever made, simply titled ‘Impossible’. Set in the Halo 2 map Headlong, it follows one spartan as he tries to rid the entire city of the elite enemies; or laughingly just the same 3 bad guys over and over. We or more me thought I can do some pretty ambitious stuff; things I saw the big film clans doing, one such aspect was a cloning effect to make more enemies onscreen. I couldn’t even get close to doing the effect because I had literally no fucking clue how to really do anything in my editing software, which at the time was still Windows Movie Maker. I even screwed up the connection from the computer to the Xbox, which in turn made it so no sound from the game was captured, to fix this I ended up putting some pretty terrible sound effects into the movie; but come on, who was able to find good sound effects on the internet around 2006, I know I didn’t. Enough random information, here’s the video.

Link To Video – Impossible

HGEC

The second video here is a short horror flick I made for a editing contest on the Halogrid forums. The theme for the contest was to make a horror video or literally just something scary. I wanted in and set forth to make something good for the contest, which when I made my submission, I kind of cheated and used some mods for the video such as the night setting, custom paint jobs like the Black/Red warthog and bloody Spartan armor, and even a mod where I was able to shoot out whole Spartan characters out of the plasma pistol and set them where I want. I had seen some other film-makers use the technique to get more characters on the map; all in all it was pretty easy to do since I was a decent modder that knew how to change most aspects of the game, but also the Halo 2 modding community was pretty robust and had many guides and tutorials to do pretty much anything you wanted. I ended up making the video all by myself, moving every character, sometimes using two controllers at once.

I finished filming and moved onto what the contest was really judging you on: post-production or editing. By this time since almost every major editor in machinima was using Sony Vegas to edit their videos, I bought in and started using it too, Sony Vegas 6 was the first editing software I ever bought; which in turn I still edit everything on to this very day, 7 complete versions later, Sony Vegas Pro 13.

Once I got editing, I thought I did a pretty badass job with everything; including some sick sound design encasing a lot of foot steps and some gnarly screams. I included a Happy Halloween from Monkeyman91 (My old Xbox Live Acccount) at the end and happily submitted to the editing contest expecting some positive feedback. WRONG. I got last place in the contest and was dumbfounded. Well now that many years have passed I know why… My editing did suck in the video; bad cuts, out of sync sound effects, no progression, and the mods I used were unfair to the people in the contest who had the normal game to go by. All in all a learning experience that still has some entertainment and appeal to it. Here’s the video.

Link To Video – HGEC

In The Army

The Last Halo 2 and machinima short we ever made is this next one I’m sharing, sharply named ‘In The Army’. This was the biggest project we made with a bunch of Insane LLama regulars helping man controllers such as Spencer, Eliot, Brad, and Ethan. Basically it follows a lonely guy as he joins the army  and goes through a bunch of shit. We utilized about half of the maps in the game and again used mods, more specifically a custom built race track mod. Probably the funniest part of this short was I (Evan) voiced every single character, just setting different pitch effects on each one. Once finished I’d say it was our best machinima and easily the most entertaining. BUT sadly only about half of the video is available since the original file got corrupted, only letting the first couple minutes be seen before going blank. Like most middle 2000’s machinima, I uploaded the video to the well-known hosting site Mythica; which unfortunately closed down in 2009, abandoning all the files and videos to be gone forever. So sadly I present to you the first half of ‘In The Army’.

Link To Video – In The Army

Insane LLama’s machinima days were short, but had a lasting impact on us; we learned a few new aspects of film-making, but more importantly it was simply fun to do and being part of the Halo 2 machinima community is a memory I will never forget, I personally never felt so attached to a community, which has only happened one other time since, almost a half a decade later with a little game called MAG, but that’s a story for another time.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little about halo 2 machinima and Insane LLama’s small part of its history. If you enjoyed scrolling through this maybe consider giving us a follow on the blog, we got lots of entertaining post planned in the future, you won’t be disappointed. See you next Thursday for our next Throwback. Enjoy!

Throwback Thursday – Halo 2 Machinima

Throwback Thursday – The First Shorts

Throwback Thursday

It’s Insane LLama’s first official Throwback Thursday!

Where to start is the question, we have so much content we can share. Our first camera came way back in 2003 and there are countless mini DV tapes we have piled up of content; but I think we should really stick with what makes Insane LLama and that would be our shorts. So this first throwback I’m going to showcase the first short films we really ever did, 3 to be exact, so let’s get started!

The first one we have is part of a series where Spencer would always get busted by the cops. These shorts were always one take since we didn’t know about multiple takes and cutting yet. This one I’m showing you was the last of the series and probably the best one.

Here’s the link to the video – Bust

For awhile we just made stuff that was all one take with no editing what so ever; then late summer 2005 our brother Ethan found an old firewire cable and said we can put our videos onto a computer to actually look at and more importantly edit! This next video which we consider Insane LLama’s first official short is called Ninja. This was the first time where we actually cut the camera and had multiple takes, which when finished was also the first video we put onto a computer to edit. Like most people who first want to edit a video we used the classic editing software Windows Movie Maker.

Here’s the link to the video – Ninja

We had so much fun making Ninja that we made our next short later that very same day, simply titled Dinner. This short was the first time we added music to a video in post production. Also seen at the end was Ethan’s attempts to use the on camera fade effect, which he completely did wrong. Enjoy!

Here’s the link to the video – Dinner

There would be one more short to add this post which we made the next day after Ninja and Dinner; this was Ninja 2, which is somewhere on one of the many tapes. Ninja 2 was ambitious after the previous 2 videos, but the video ended up kinda sucking with takes going too fast and cutting at the wrong time. The video was actually kind of awkward.

But that’s that, I hope you learned a little about us and enjoyed seeing our early roots when we were young and had no clue that we end up doing this for a living. See you next Thursday for our next Throwback.

Thanks!

Throwback Thursday – The First Shorts