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Posted by: Kim_Hamilton on 02/20/2008 11:01 AM Updated by: Kim_Hamilton on 02/20/2008 12:34 PM
Expires: 01/01/2013 12:00 AM
:



Thoughts on Bionicles, YouTube and the Invisible Wall~By Karen Wildwood

The World Wide Web or the “Web” as we now call it has become a constant background in most of our lives. It has become so commonplace that many of us can’t even remember what it was like to not have twenty-four seven access to entertainment and news. That being said how many websites actually affect our everyday existence in our everyday lives and homes? My answer would be, not that many. Think about it, out of all the websites you peruse each day, out of all the information that you absorb and retain, how many of those sites actually break the invisible ether barrier and change the environment you live in?....


I have been on the Web since before the Web was the World Wide Web. Yes, I am that old. When I first hooked up to the Web I had to daisy chain an external modem to my computer then use gopher holes in AOL to get where I wanted to go, and, if I didn’t know the exact address of where I wanted to go then I was literally lost in etherspace. And, yes, I am also so old that I remember when cell phones first came out and you had to access a real live operator to connect your call.

With all that internet experience, I can honestly say that it is only in the last month that a website has actually changed the way I live in my real life everyday existence. What site is it that has so changed my household? Not Reuters, although I read it everyday, not Rough & Tumble, although I read that everyday too, no, not any news site, or other information dissimulator that you think would change my way of life.

The site that has changed my life as I once knew it, is – drum roll please - YouTube. Yes, YouTube that internet site that Google bought for $1.65 billion, yes billion, just a couple of years ago has invaded my household. We will never be the same.

Now, I have perused YouTube for a while now. I like to know what’s going on in the world of the Web and after that huge stock purchase by Google of the little known site that was, at the time, not worth much, I was curious about it. Although I am a hack videographer I have never posted anything on the site, but have always enjoyed finding old jewels of performances of my all time favorite band from my younger years – transferred from VHS, of course – in all their grainy glory, along with other attempts by real people to get their work seen by others.

This lurking around the site all changed a few weeks ago when my son discovered that kids his age are actually making shorts and posting them on the site. Now, my son is a big Bionicle kid. For those of you who aren’t familiar with world of the Bionicle, they are a Lego creation of alien looking beings that have their own social structure, culture and, well, world.

This world of the Bionicle has transferred itself to YouTube in the form of stop-go animation films. This is what’s changed my household. After seeing the Bionicle movies the other kids were making, my son decided he needed to make his own.

So, after some basic instruction on the camera work and how to make a stop-go animation film, I let him go and he hasn’t stopped since. Almost everyday, after his homework is done, he starts to build his sets, frame his shots and painstakingly choreograph each Bionicle move and countermove.

As a result of this, my house is in constant set mode. If my son has to leave off shooting his film, to do mundane everyday things like eat or go to bed, he leaves everything the way it is to be picked up at another time, because continuity in stop-go is a key to getting it right.

One of the most common phrases in my household has become, “Mom, I’m going to start filming now.” Of course after the filming, he comes to me for the editing and adding audio part of it all because at nine, he needs a little help with that. But, I’m sure that he will soon supplant me in that department and instead of sticking with the extremely limited Windows Movie Maker, he’ll want to upgrade to Pinnacle or Final Cut before I’m ready to invest in those programs.

It is amazing to me is how good these kids short films are and that includes my son’s. They seem to have an innate sense of timing and creative vision that is only limited by their lack of experience and knowledge of the technical aspects of filmmaking. But, as I avoid Bionicle sets and try not to move the camera from its designated spot, the fact that a website that is essentially about entertainment has been able to penetrate the invisible wall into the dimension of true reality amazes me most of all.



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