Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Mash Up Monday - Shakira vs. Britney vs. The Bee Gees

In the continuing form of posting Mash Up Monday on a Tuesday(!), here is this week's Mash Up.

This one is a favourite of The Hits late at night when they do a mash-up collection and is definitely the pick of the bunch.

Featuring Shakira ("Whenever, Wherever"), Britney Spears ("I'm A Slave 4 U") and The Bee Gees ("Stayin' Alive"), this is an excellent Mash Up that sounds great all the way through.

Mash Up Monday - Shakira vs. Britney Spears vs. The Bee Gees

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Inspirational Speeches

On paper, the speech given by Bill Pullman in the Roland Emmerich movie "Independence Day" is incredibly cheesy. Painfully cheesy in fact. However, somehow (I feel) that Mr. Pullman manages to pull it off and sound quite inspirational!

I am a fan of a good inspirational movie speech (see Braveheart or something similar for reference) and love the following spliced clips from overthinkingit.com. In just over 2 minutes, they have managed to combine snippets from 40 inspirational movie speeches into one.

If anyone was dreading the forthcoming New Year or have the fear of going back to work after the holidays to a job they may not enjoy, then I simply suggest that you watch the video below and see how you feel!

40 Inspirational Movie Speeches in 2 Minutes
Courtesy of OverThinkingIt.com

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Becoming Batman - Episode Seven

In Episode Seven of "Becoming Batman" - Entitled "Batman and Robin" - the search for a Robin has been completed, and our hero has chosen a woman for the part.

However, they have to let her go after their first patrol together because she is "making him look bad"!

This episode takes a more sombre tone to previous episodes as the true isolation that comes with becoming batman slowly becomes apparent. Despite this, there are still a couple of classic comedy gems to be found:

-"I'll just bring up the rear. Err...not your rear...I mean...err!"

-"You look a bit sad."
-"There's not much of the picnic left!"

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Becoming Batman - Episode Seven - "Batman and Robin"

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Mash Up Monday - ABBA vs. 50 Cent

For the 2nd mash up of the day, I have picked an absolute gem!

I have long considered 50 Cent's "In Da Club" to be one of the most versatile songs to be used in the mash up world. This is not only through my own experience but for the fact that it features in a lot of the best ones you will hear on youtube. However, I never expected that it could go as far as being used with ABBA's "Dancing Queen" and actually sound good!

Mash Up Monday - ABBA vs. 50 Cent - Queen of Da Club

Mash Up Monday - White Stripes vs Eurythmics

Due to an incredibly hectic holiday period so far, I must apologize for the lack of a Mash Up Monday for the past 2 weeks.

Although I am sure that people will point out that today is in fact a Tuesday, I intend to post 2 songs today in order to make up for the shortcomings lately. Perhaps I shall go as far as to schedule a few extra posts to appear over the festivities!

First up we have a lovely mash up between the classic 1983 hit "Sweet Dreams" by Eurythmics (note they are not THE Eurythmics!) and the 2003 anthem "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes, entitled "Sweet Dreams Are Made of Seven Nation Army".

This is a great (if not perfect) effort. Both songs compliment each other and either set of lyrics seems to work very well. It is a shame that the attempt was made to have both lyrics at the same time. However, a minor glitch in an otherwise excellent tune.

Mash Up Monday - The White Stripes vs Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams Are Made of Seven Nation Army

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Becoming Batman - Episode Six

In Episode Six of "Becoming Batman" - Entitled (oddly) "#38" - the search for a Robin has begun.

With the recent release of The Dark Knight on DVD and Blu-Ray, I have been able to appreciate these videos better than ever. I have been finding tiny subtleties in the script and actions that are just making this series better than ever.

In this episode, our hero is trying to justify the reasons for the need to have a Robin sidekick:
-"Why is Robin good?"
-"He's not!"
-"He gives someone for Batman to talk too"
-"You don't need someone to talk too"
-"He appeals to a younger demographic"
-"What does that even mean?"

Becoming Batman - Episode Six - "#38"

It is good to see further hints towards the transformation in our hero's friend into The Joker ("What?...Don't wink!").

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Deserter - Halo 3 Machinima

Today I felt like sharing with you some more work by the excellent Nicholas Werner.

I previously highlighted his most recent piece of work - "Break" - but promised to feature some of his slighter older but longer works.

The video I have selected today is entitled "Deserter" and in Nicholas Werner's own words it is a story about "As a veteran soldier deserts his post, another is sent to find him". Unlike the other featured work here, this is not a silent movie. At over 20 minutes in length, this video features some very good voice acting, superb soundtrack and another wonderful use of the Halo 3 game engine. Again I am overwhelmed at Mr Werner's ability to create such epic Hollywood-esque camera shots using nothing but the Halo 3 engine, which is a compliment to both the director and Bungie studios (that are responsible for creating the game).

For those that are enjoying these videos, I highly suggest you visit the Machinima page to this video and watch more videos by this director. Also, if you are fans of Halo 3 in general, then I would like to bring your attention to a great Halo 3 fansite called HBO (not the US TV Studio and Channel!). Here all manner of things Halo are discussed.

Deserter - by Nicholas Werner - Courtesy of Machinima.com

This video can also be found on YouTube, but has been broken down into 3 separate parts (follow links if you prefer to view in YouTube or the above embedding isn't working too well for you):
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Becoming Batman - Episode Five

In Episode Five of "Becoming Batman" - Entitled "Rules of Engagement" - we follow our hero on his first patrol!

This series is getting funnier and stronger every episode, yet only episode two seems to be obtaining any real traffic on YouTube. I hope that this series of videos will become more widely known to the YouTube audience as it has the potential to be a true internet phenomenon. Perhaps the humour is a little to subtle and British to be found brilliant abroad? Just a theory!

This Episode's highlight has to be the man approaching Batman in the park:
- "Alright mate. You got any...err...gear?"
- "NO!!! Who are you mistaking me for?"

Don't forget: "PAY AND DISPLAY"!

Becoming Batman - Episode Five - "Rules of Engagement"

Terminator Salvation - Trailer

The first full trailer for the Terminator Salvation movie was released today.

I must admit that I was initially worried by the news that it was being directed by McG (the guy that made the 2nd Charlie's Angels film!!!). These worries were hugely relieved by the news that Christian Bale was going to be playing the lead role of John Conor. Even more so by the fact that Bale was so impressed with the story that he is rumoured to have signed up for a further 2 films.

Now, with the release of this full 2 minute trailer, I am now officially excited about seeing this film. The first Terminator movie was clearly a horror movie, the second was clearly an action movie, and the third was unintentionally a comedy. I am hoping that this fourth installment will along the lines of an EPIC action/thriller/adventure movie.

Terminator Salvation Trailer

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Out of Date Advertising

With a copy of (the) Metro open on my desk the other day, a colleague of mine spotted what can only be described as an advert that had gone past its use-by date!

Whilst I am not exactly talking about advertising "The Brand New Sinclair ZX-81", it is a little unusual to see ads that are obviously promoting an event that happened in the past.

Below is the image of the page in question (click to make bigger):

Metro Out of Date Advert
December 4th, 2008 - Metro

The keen-eyed viewer will notice that the advert at the bottom for "Freesat" is promoting the England vs Germany football game in HD on November 19th 2008, whilst the date of the paper at the top is December 4th, 2008! Proof up close:

Date 4th December 2008
Date - 4th December 2008

While I agree that the product itself is still relevant and worth advertising, it is probably not the best message you could use. However, the page does have a great story about a 27 year old cat, so all is forgiven!

Monday, 8 December 2008

400GB Blu-Ray Discs

As an owner of a Playstation 3 and a fan of the Blu-Ray format(which I correctly predicted back in 2004 would win the format war over HD-DVD by Christmas 2008 - I shall attempt to find the presentation I gave that said so!), I read with great satisfaction that the 400GB discs being developed by Pioneer would be compatible with all current Blu-Ray players and Playstation 3s.

At present, the Dual Layer format that is most commonly used is capable of storing up to 50GB of information. Although this may seem like a lot (the same as 71 CDs), it is well documented that Hideo Kojima (the man behind the Metal Gear Solid series of games) found the storage capacity on Blu-Ray to be insufficient for his initial plans for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots.

16 layer blu ray disc
16-Layer Blu-Ray Disc

With the fast development and capabilities of High-Definition TVs and Gaming, it is necessary for the discs that store the game data to keep up with the demands. There are even rumours that Sony are potentially looking to develop the Playstation 4 without an optical drive at all! The idea is that by the time the PS4 is released, the image quality and internet speeds will be developed enough that the games would be able to be downloaded and stored on a hard-drive. This would remove the disc capacity issue completely from the equation and allow the game developers to create the game to their plans.

Although a great idea in theory, it would mean that anyone without the latest in broadband technology would be unable to play the games! Limiting your sales potential would not exactly be a smart move. However, by removing the optical drive, the console would be quieter, use less energy and have fewer moving parts to go wrong. It would also be vastly cheaper to produce and, hence, sell.

By producing a Blu-Ray disc that contains 16 layers (!), each producing as strong a signal as that on the dual layer format, Pioneer have made a major step forward in the potential for Blu-Ray technology and perhaps bought itself another 10-15 years. The confirmation that these discs will work on existing players is a huge boost to the consumers that felt that the HD move away from DVD came too soon and may be worried about the next step up not being too far away.

The 400GB Blu-Ray discs should be commercially available by 2010. If the HD quality does not develop much further in the next year or so, then it would be great to be able to obtain whole TV series on a single Blu-Ray disc without dropping the HD quality. It would even be possible to have every episode of Friends TWICE at DVD quality on one disc!

It is even thought that by 2012 it will be possible to have 1TB (1000GB) fit onto 1 disc!

Mash Up Monday - Nelly Furtado vs. One Republic

Welcome to another Mash-Up Monday. Giving you the best music around, all at the same time!

This week's entry is a lovely mix between Nelly Furtado's "Say It Right" with One Republic's "Apologize".

The line up of the tempo for the two songs is as close to perfect as you are going to get and the end product could easily be a song worthy of release!

Although not a particular fan of Nelly Furtado, I must admit to being a fan of One Republic! Their debut album, "Dreaming Out Loud", was absolutely fantastic and I liked every track (quite rare for me with regards to most albums!), especially "Tyrant".


Mash Up Monday - Nelly Furtado vs One Republic - Say It Apologize!

Friday, 5 December 2008

The London Paper - Babyliss Advert

Whilst travelling home on Wednesday, I was flicking a copy of The London Paper (as is usual on my way home), and came across this rather clever use of advertising.

Babyliss Advert in The London Paper
Babyliss Advert in The London Paper

With the paper folded in half, I was initially confused by the large, strange misprint in my copy of the paper. However, in the process of unfolding the paper, the true nature of the effect became apparent. The Babyliss Eco Dry advert does a very good job of suggesting that it can dry hair just as fast as a normal 2000W hair-dryer while using only half the energy.

It is not the first time that The London Paper has opted for a rather unusual advertising placement, but they have usually been odd shaped ads with the text wrapped around them. This is the first time I have seen the what appears as text itself being used to accentuate the ad. For obvious reasons, it is not the real text that is being distorted, but it does give a nice dramatic effect. Plus anything that can be used to make the Listings pages a bit more exciting can't be a bad thing.

Break 3 - Video Using Halo 3 Engine

For a Friday evening, I thought I would share the excellent work of Nicholas Werner.

The video below is his most recent piece of work (entitled "Break 3"), that takes advantage of the Halo 3 Microsoft Engine to tell the silent story of a prisoner breaking out of jail (but there's a long way between getting out and being free!). It is a simple, fast-paced chase movie that impressively makes use the Halo 3 engine to recreate the sort of camera shots that you would expect with major movies.

Nicholas Werner is a Stanford graduate that has made several movies based on computer game engines for Machinima, many of which to great acclaim. I shall endeavour to include some more of his superb work in the near future (including the EPIC "Deserter" and the very impressive "Potentior", a movie that traces the events of the final major battle in the Gallic Wars, the epic struggle between Julius Caesar and Vercingetorix focused on the siege of the fortified town of Alesia - all using the "Rome: Total War" game engine!).

I look forward to more of his work.

Break 3 - Nicholas Werner - Halo 3 Engine Video

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was undoubtedly one of the greatest games I have ever had the pleasure of playing and owning. It took all of the adventure and excitement of the best Tomb Raider games but added in a very gripping plot and several believable characters. So much so, that as soon as I completed the game on "Normal" difficulty, I played through it on "Hard" and then again on "Crushing". That is the first time I have done that with a game.

That is just one of the reasons that I was excited by the information that was released by Naughty Dog Inc (the guys that created the Crash Bandicoot games) about the upcoming sequel - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - Image Snapshot
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - Image Snapshot

The new game will feature the first game's protagonist, Nathan Drake, as he embarks on a journey following the travels of the legendary Marco Polo. In addition to the usual improvement in graphics, there will also be the inclusion of a new free-climbing mechanic and stealth gameplay, which will only add to the enjoyment.

To coincide with these announcements, the following trailer has also been released. It has been said that this trailer was created using the real-time imagery of the in-game character models rather than some separate CGI work. This should mean that the graphics of the game itself will look somewhat similar to what we can see here!

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - Trailer

I, for one, cannot wait for this game to be released. I will have to make sure I can book a week or so off work to give me the chance to make some headway with it.

Amazon UK Launches MP3 Download Service

Today Amazon.co.uk has finally launched the UK arm of their mp3 download service.

With the potential to pull a lot of money away from iTunes, on paper Amazon look to have a winner on their hands.

The downloader tool is reported to be very easy to install and use and will automatically add the downloaded tracks to your Windows Media Player or iTunes.

Amazon MP3 Download Service
Amazon MP3 Download Service

Prices seem reasonable, with single mp3 files starting at £0.59 and typically around the £0.69 or £0.79 area. Full albums start at £0.49, with recent hits like Kings of Leon's "Only By The Night" setting you back only £3. Some more classic albums (like Michael Jackson's "Thriller") will cost £8 or more. Some artists are missing at this moment in time, but it should not be long before the majority of artists are on board.

iTunes have generated criticism for it's use of Digital Rights Management (DRM), making it difficult for people to copy their music onto CDs and between MP3 players. The Amazon MP3 downloads, however, are free from any DRM, enabling the users to freely transfer their music wherever they want! The 256kbps encoding is also good quality so should sound nice and clear on any top-end hi-fi system.

Amazon also have a 1-Click Buy system running (just like iTunes) to make the download process even quicker.

It will be interesting to see how much revenue they can build for themselves (and take from iTunes).

Becoming Batman - Episode Four

In Episode Four of "Becoming Batman" - Entitled "It's How You Play The Game" - it is time to decide on which type of Batman our hero should become.

The options are:
  1. 1940's Batman - A little racist towards the Japanese!

  2. 1960's Batman - Has the cool theme tune and "shark repellent"

  3. Diane Keaton - Unfortunately "he kills people"

  4. Valary Kilmer - "Quite moody and tortured"

  5. Clooney - "He's just so smug. He's rubbish". But he does get to surf through the sky!

  6. Bale - "He keeps to the morality quite well". And he likes Huey Lewis and the News

It just has to be Bale's Batman! Now there is just the matter of the voice, and to get rid of that mustache - "I look like a reverse Hitler!"

Becoming Batman - Episode Four - "It's How You Play The Game"

Monday, 1 December 2008

Mash Up Monday - Kanye West vs Beethoven

Although a little later than usual, welcome to this week's Mash-Up Monday!

Today's mash-up takes advantage of the great tunes that can be created by combining R&B with classical music. Although not the first song to take advantage of sampling Beethoven's Symphony No.5 (e.g. Robin Thicke - When I Get You Alone), I really feel it fits well within Kanye West's "Gold-digger"!

Mash Up Monday - Kanye West vs Beethoven