April 19th, 2010


"Electrical Engineering" Video

Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWKW-vjZX_w

If anybody out there knows - or suspects - how it's done: please keep it to yourself :3 It's only funny as long as it's a mistery ;P I will neither confirm nor deny any solution that pops up but solutions might ruin the fun for others, thanks! :)

So, I thought I do the usual and do a bit of a "behind the scenes" posting. First off: thanks to everyone for the positive feedback! I was worried a bit how this "special interest" video comes across. It might have dragged a bit in the middle but then: it was supposed to be a magic trick and not showing the setup of the circuit would lead to "oh yes, he's wired it differently" messages. And if magicians in Vegas can fill an entire show with just a few tricks, I think I'm allowed my three minutes to set up the mood, create a little story and present the effect.

To repeat: The wiring is exactly as it is shown on the circuit diagram! I will even be able to show this trick up close and personal, pending a few repairs on the equipment.

How did I end up with the idea in the first place? I have seen that little trick in a magazine about 20 years ago - since it wasn't new at the time the trick might be as old as 25 years. Creepy... well, I finally decided I'd give it a shot and set it up and create a little backstory. The evil scientist just fell into place because if somebody could manipulate electricity like that, it would cause pretty much every electrical device to stop working or short circuit :)

I had to prepare the props for this one because I couldn't find any ready-made switches/lamp sockets that would match these "lab style" I remember from my childhood and would allow free view of the full curcuit.

The filming went in reverse: I first set up the curcuit and filmed the scientist/Igor reacting to it. Then I did the setup footage and at the very last the intro sequence. Of course the voice was done up front since I had to have something to synchroize two complete distinct takes: one for Igor and one for the scientist. So - with the exception of the setup sequence - every part was shot twice to combine during post production.

Speaking of which, during post production I noticed that the light was awfully weak on the video... well... 1.2W lamps competing against 6 times 50W lamps... you do the math :)
I had to add a bit of a halo effect to brighten up the little lamps a bit and make them clearer visible. Other than that, no video effect was used in the circuit.

I also decided to kompose... err... randomly hit some keys on my keyboard for a bit of "music" at the beginning and during the ending sequence. Something I thought sounded creepy enough to fit the mood.

That's about it - I hope all of you had as much fun watching as I had making it!