Friday, July 30, 2010

And what a "Guy" he is

Look at the top of the page and see what Guy over at House Bloodthorn made for me.  I am feeling lots of love lately, thanks everyone.

Apparently he didn't like my banner too much! :D  It was a bit on the boring side....not really my personality...I guess he knows me pretty well....cause this is just awesome.

How fun is that new header?  Bright and shiny.....and hey, there is a huge spider on it, no wonder the frog let out a little pee! I really do think he is trying to kill me! :D

He has a normal version know, when I snap out of spider mode :)

Anyway, that Guy for the new header and all the cool stuff you do for us. 

Now, we really need to finish the HVA website so husband quits asking me about it. :D

You would think

that the prop that I redesigned several times, spent the most money and time on would be something in the yard.

You would be wrong.

This FQ folly, the Luminary, a whim after talking to John Barrowman from EFX-TEK (they are a bad influence on husband and I) at a haunt gathering, has gone through major changes for the last three years.

I was happy with the last version, it just was not fancy enough. So this year husband has been casting me plastic candle holders for the 48 candles.....with one mold. He has been pouring these things since March. He love me.

This past weekend I designed and we cut out these wood pieces on the scroll saw to put on the sides of the luminary to make it look like metal scroll work. I am guessing that this year alone we have spent 80 hours on this prop.

It will be spectacular when it is done!

I do so love my follies.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I bet if we hacked it

we could make a very creepy Halloween prop.

Is there something wrong with me that the first thing I think of when I see a cute, cuddly, fluffy and (disturbingly) realistic cat doll, is making a Halloween prop?

Probably, and I am fine with that.

Thinking about Halloween

can make almost any day better. Case in point.

So yesterday was probably one of the most stressful days at work I have had in a while....been just a crazy time lately (working ridiculous amounts of overtime).  Things did not go as planned (happens) and lots of last minute changes and problem solving.

So when that was over I just wanted to go out with some friends...but I had to make one stop first. 

On the outside of the building it said "David's Bridal" but when I got inside, and was seduced by mountains of pastels and ruffles...I knew something was wrong.

I just could not put my finger on it.

First, pastel pink is the color that my sister has in mind for me.  My sister is also a red head...what was she thinking!  Anyway, her wedding, I will wear what ever she wants me to wear.  This time it is not about me.

Yes, I was scaring myself with how mature I was acting...growing as a person is rather painful, they forget to tell you that :D

Anyway, it my head I am thinking....this will be fun, I will just get this pink dress, take pictures, but it on eBay with a funny story of how I had to buy this pink dress after I have blogged endlessly about how much I detest pink and have the auction end the day after the wedding.  Even if I did not get much for it....I would be entertaining myself, and we all know how much I like to do that :D

Many boring complications ensue and now I am getting a  pale green dress, cause that's "better" (pale pink, pale green - does not matter at this point still as pastel - at least she did not pick out the leopard print dresses!).  Again, not about me....I will wear whatever she wants me to wear.

So when they bring me the "chosen" dress in my size to try on and it is bright orange (of course it is.) Anyway, orange is worse than pink on this red head, it was just stunning :D  Really, my eyes almost burned out of my head.

As this is happening I notice a very scary voice coming from the overhead speakers. 

No way....they are not playing a local radio station in the store!  That is wrong (and illegal) in so many ways.

Anyway, this is exactly when I put my finger on what was wrong about this place!

....if John Tesh (sorry to all you Tesh fans)  is coming through the speakers and I am putting on a satin orange dress.....

I am in hell.

Funny, I thought it would involve spiders :D

At this point I just have to laugh, and let it all go. This day has been just insane and getting weirder by the minute. I am done trying to control what is going on around me, which I should have done at about 11:00 am this morning.

Silly frog queen.  So I do what I normally do when I am feeling overwhelmed.

I think about Halloween is a Halloween color suddenly in my mind this dress turns into this:

And that made me laugh at how crazy I really am.

Went out later that night with friends and had a great time. Got reminded that the cure for a horrible day is laughing at yourself.....and pumpkins. 

Never underestimate the power of a jack o'lantern.

Experimenting with

new concrete.

Been getting some experience on how to pour concrete skulls, big skull, little skull, and half faces.  Learning that it is a little too warm to dry the half faces with out keeping the concrete really wet.  But I think I have it figured out.

Why more skulls? 

Many people have asked me about them so we are going to put them on our soon to be released Etsy store.  Watch here for more details.

Monday, July 26, 2010

One of the many reasoons

that I love my friend Mort (Tina) from Darkwing Manor is her sense of humor.

So, we were at Frightfest Northwest this weekend for just a few hours to drop off their Vanguard award from the Haunters Video Awards and visit for a little bit (we were not hosting it this year...too much going on.)

(now, just in case you are thinking....that is odd, Darkwing are friends of the Davis' that put on the awards.....we have judges to that, we don't do not pick the winners....really!)

We got there just in time of the "Prop Off" (build a prop from misc items) - and we found that this year the kids were excluded from the competition (they won last year) - I think the logic went something like "how can we compete with the kids, they will always win" or something like that.

Their contest, their rules, whatever works for everyone is fine by me.

Anyway, after all the awards were given out....everyone won something "scariest" or "most creative"...that way no one was left out.

Tina, who was announcing the winners, and apprently was not completely happy with "excluding the kids",  thought it would be funny to add

"So the overall winner of the best prop goes to the kids, since they were not allowed to participate this year."

I just love that lady.

Sometimes we all need that subtle reminder that we might be taking ourselves a bit too seriously. :D

I think this whole thing has gotten

a bit out of hand :)
And that is good. 

Since I have had overwhelming support for Davis Graveyard SpiderFEST 2010, I created a blog for the project (actually, Guy created the blog - thanks!)

This way I can keep you updated on how the project is going and hopefully answer some questions about what we are creating.

I am not completely 100% sure what to put on that blog (I have a few ideas), since this is a group project if you have suggestions, feel free to post them on the blog.

Happy spider making everyone :)

(I really cannot believe I just typed that :D)

Not one, but two

new awards for the blog!  Woohoo!  Time to breakout the party hats!

The first one is from the great blog Halloween Overkill.  Got his nifty Versatile Blogger award. many awards there are rules.....several, you all know how I just love rules.....(snap) what was that sound, oops look like I broke three of the rules, so we will just go with this on broken one here.

Link back to the fantastic, charming, talented and good looking blogger that sent this to you.  No problem.  Thank you Halloween Overkill!  Much appreciated.

The second is another present from my new friend at iZombie at the iZombeLover blog.  Cool blog, being a graphics person by trade I really appreciate all interesting image treatments.  Very entertaining.

This award also has rules....but I seem to have lost my glasses and cannot read them :D

As far as rules go, they primarily involve sending them on to other bloggers....and I just really have a hard time only picking a handful of you wonderful, good looking, smart, gifted people.  :)

Thanks to both of you!

Another present

Wow, the very talented blogger iZombie made me this very cool Kermit image (I do so love Kermit, I know, huge surprise) for entering his giveaway

That is really sweet.  I absolutely love it. 

Thanks so much!  Nice to have a frog around to balance out the over abundance of spider nonsense going on. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Best video ever

Well, at least in a long while. Great song - amazing video inspired by the Evil Dead movies. I think I am in love! Thanks to Igloo of the Uncanny for the heads up.

So I was sitting in my office

minding my own business, grabbing a few files to take back to work when all of a sudden my computer starts reading my emails.

"But", I hear you say, "the computer is supposed to read the emails. Silly frog queen."

Not by itself it is not. :)

Seriously, the pointer is running around the screen scrolling and clicking through email .....

......all by itself. 

The motionless mouse glances over as to say "not me queenie, are you thinking what I am thinking?"

Oh sweet! My computer is haunted!

Is that not the coolest thing!? My very own ghost!

A bit creepy granted, but this is going to make the best blog post EVER!

Then I remember that husband installed a remote control program on my system so that he could check our emails on my computer from his computer in the basement.

He was just reading the emails.......Sh*t! 

No ghost.

Sometimes technology ruins all the fun :(

While we are talking about

messy, that reminds me that we are working with monster mud this weekend. 

I sure anyone that has seen the haunt knows the frog queen does love her monster mud.  And even though I said I don't like messes, does not mean I don't like getting messy. 

I just like things to be organized - and the supplies to be put back in the labeled that too much to ask?  Really?  It is so much easier to find the "tape" when the "tape" is in the bin marked "tape".....oops, sorry got off on a tangent again :D

Anyway, husband is building frames today or Saturday and Sunday we are going to get all messy and have lots of fun sticking our hands up to our elbows in monster mud.....I just love prop making!!!

For anyone out there that has not tried monster of my favorite haunters (very nice guy) and ultra talented prop maker Steve Hickman has a set of books that explain how it works better than I ever could.  Check out his site to learn more.

I think he is

on to something.  I remember why I don't let zombies help in the yard.

LOL!  And Dawnabelle knnows how I hate messes!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A yard haunt or


Some odd things have been happening in the background of the Davis Graveyard this past year. Since we needed to make some decisions about how to update the Haunter's Video Awards categories, I have been thinking about things a lot.

(Completely distracting me from prop making, and that sucks!) This post has been written and re-written for months. I have often thought of completely deleting it.....but it really haunts me (pun intended) and I have to say this is always in the back of my mind. . So I thought sharing it might help me understand it better.

This year, on several occasions, I have found myself out of place (in the this haunt world.) I thought I knew what I was, but I am finding that I don't anymore. Up until recently, I called myself a haunter.

But more occasions than I care to remember, I have been told well,....something to the effect of "Your stuff is not exactly scary."

True, creepy, yes...definitely not scary.

Is there or should there be a distinction between a "haunter" and "yard display"? If so, how is that quantified? What does it mean to have a "yard or home haunt"? I have been thinking......

What is a "haunt"?

You don't walk through my yard/garage/house, it is just a display. I get asked at least 10 times a day when will we "open" the inside of the church. They are usually disappointed when I tell them that it is just a facade and there is nothing inside.

They tell me that I really should have a "haunted house." I have no desire to a do that again - ever.

So, since you don't "walk-thru" my yard, is what I do a haunt? So, how does "scary" fit in? I don't really have anything in my display that is "scary" - unless you are a kid or very easily frightened.

With the exception of a few props, almost nothing in the yard even moves. I am purposely gore-free.

No monsters jump out or run after you, having you run away screaming, is a worthy goal, just not mine.

The short of it is, since no one walks through my display, and I don't "scare" people - is the display really a haunt?

Upon reflection I am beginning to believe that my goals are contrary to "haunting".

My desire is to be creepy and detailed. When I tell people silly stuff like ....

I have spent too much time hand painting every fake flower or vine in my yard gray to match the color scheme.

I have a set of skeleton keys that hang off the belt of the grave keeper. They are the keys to the mausoleum that is closed each day and opened each night...In my back story, that is what the gravedigger does. I can guarantee you, no one notices.

The "mourner", the standing monument of a woman has bare feet (that we cast) sticking out under her shroud, you will never see them.

I am going to stop there, because the impractical details are numerous; and I think you get the point. I know and I am sure you will agree, none of these items "scare" anyone.

Many believe that scaring people is the whole point.

So why would I not want to do that?

"Because it is not me" with a grin was my answer. "I like it fine...just not what I do best."

Worked for me for a long time. It felt right, I never questioned it. But this year several times, I have found myself feeling uncomfortable, like I should be apologizing for not playing by some undefined set of rules.

Usual responses from haunters are "I would never waste time on that stuff." or "Why don't you do "insert jump out and scare you prop" here?"

In that light, I guess I don't have an answer other than, just not my style.

We were recently called eye candy. I think it was meant to be an insult, but fair enough. I see their point.

Most haunters (who I love and appreciate) spend their time, energy, money and a large part of their yard or garage (even house) in the noble and much needed pursuit of creating a whole experience designed to make you scream.

I think generally, most yard and professional haunters would call that a haunt (and I do love them, all of them, home and pro haunts, have been through more than most and I never get tired of it). And I really have no problem with that definition. None at all. The label attached to what we create makes no difference to me.

I am just wondering, if I am not a haunt? What am I? When it comes to home haunting, should there be a distinction between types of haunts?

I call the Davis Graveyard a yard display these days.

Since talking has a lot to do with my problem, I am thinking of stopping talking to haunters, ah, and maybe just people in general :D

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Two words that should never

be used in the same sentence at anytime in this universe.

"Spiders" and "thousands"

I knew you all knew that, just a little reminder.

Thanks to me a my big mouth about my group prop idea I have been getting a great amount of spider emails.

Thank you all......I will remember your "kindness".

Yes I will.

You can be certain of that.

Yesterday when I got home I had at least 5 emails about the literally "boat load of spiders" that tried to dock in Guam.

From the sounds of it, I think they might have been driving.

Somewhere in the article I read "thousands of spiders swarmed the dock..."

it probably continued to read "and ate every ones brains..."

But I had to quit reading . . . . self preservation kicked in.

I now know this for certian.

I do believe the world is for your lives!!! :D

Remember this poor prop

he was nearly destroyed last year on Halloween night. Everyone was standing on him to see the dancers. So he got to spend some time in the "prop hospital" :)

Both of the heads and legs were crushed down to the boards.....and his base had been stood on so many times, that the burlap/monster mud treatment was tattered. Very sad indeed.

So this prop was in need of some major repair work. We rebuilt the heads - this time we put an aluminum frame in for the heads, you will not be able to stand on it (and you should not be) but hopefully it will help hold it's shape better.

Then we took chicken wire and reshaped the heads and covered them again. After that we remudded the burlap that had been softened by being walked.

We also had to drive in a few more screws to shore the whole piece was a bit wobbly.

The next step was to remove our Great Stuff/spray paint rust effect that we did incorrectly.

It is a technique that we learned from Bad Boys Scenic Design, who learned it from the uber talented Nick Collins...who did it the right way.

We thought we were being clever and removed a step because we thought it was unnecessary.

His version is to have two people - one spraying the foam and another person spraying paint at the same time. That way you work the paint into the spray foam so that it is not bright yellow.

We thought, we will just paint it after the fact....which looks good until you touch it. Then the paint chips right off leaving that lovely bright yellow exposed. Scary in the not good way.

So we scrapped all the Great Stuff/paint off the aluminum trim and did it right this time. It is still going to need a coat of paint to completely cover the yellow....but it looks a lot better.

We learned a valuable lesson....when Nick says to do it that way....listen, he is one of the best in the haunt industry.....why for a moment would we have thought we knew better....silly frog queen.

The aliens have invaded

the graveyard!!

Look at those cute little aliens...wonder where the mother ship is?

Actually they are skull molds. We started using Plasti-Paste last year instead of plaster of paris on all our molds. Makes them lighter easier to carry around. Husband had the brilliant idea to put those PVC feet on them so that they would stand up while they are being molded.

Brilliant man he is. I think I will keep him. :)

This batch we made out of cement, like we have on the patio instead of foam.

If all goes well I hope to start selling these on Etsy in the near future.

Does anyone know where I can get that time turner thingy that Hermione had? :D

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The problem usually

starts with us thinking we are being clever.

So next up in the "prop hospital" is the Eternal Flame. This is one of my favorite new props from last just kinda fell together perfectly.

But it did not fall apart fact, it kinda broke apart in all kinds of ways.

This one is really our fault, the design is good, the way it comes apart for storage it great, but putting it together and taking it apart was not as well thought out.

As you can see from the picture, it has a dowel and PVC pipe set up to put the pieces in place. Problem last year is that the dowels were really tight in in the PVC and it was hard to get it together.....took four of us 20 minutes, that is as long as it takes to set up the whole Mausoleum.

And it took about as long to take apart.....or should I say break apart.

The already tight dowel/PVS set up was made worse by our constant companion in the Northwest: rain (I mean was raining this morning, it is July.) Although it did not get wet directly, the moisture in the air made the dowels swell and getting her apart nearly impossible.

So in the "hospital" we sanded down the dowels for a looser fit and numbered everything so that we know what piece goes where. This year we are looking for 2 minute set up time. :)

We call it

"Prop Hospital" at the Graveyard.

Last weekend was a repair and/or rebuild session at the Graveyard. Every year something(s) break in October that we wait to fix until the following spring and summer. It usually takes us a couple weekends to get the props back in working order.

The major project was separating the Mourner and Joan from their bases. We learned after a few tries that those large tall props are a b*tch to move around in one piece, so we started designing them in two pieces, the base and the statue, much easier to move and set up.

And after that life altering situation with the Mourner prop last year (one of the worst experiences of my life), it was a major priority that these props get adjusted so that never happened again....otherwise I might be done haunting.

We were able to pry Joan off the base without destroying it so her base just needed to be glued to a piece of wood and we were good to go.

BTW -I did not help with this prop, as soon as we moved her again I could hear her calling me a liar from across the room....remember, she has a sword I was not taking any chances.

The mourner was another story. Let's just say she is my problem child monument. I think it is because she is drinking when we are not looking, but husband says it is because she is top heavy....either way, she likes to face plant. If any prop is going to fall over in the yard. It is her.

She has had more than one operation to attempt to keep her upright. So when we took her apart this was a bit of a mess, she had some major engineering issues, but after a few redesigns she is done.

She is two inches taller....farther for her to fall when she decides to face plant again :D

Actually no one face plants or falls over anymore. Part of the reason we are redoing the bases is that it is easier to set the prop up in two parts, because we have fitted the body of each statue with PVC pipe that fits over a piece of 5 foot rebar that we drive into the ground and lift the prop over the top of. This is why making the prop in two pieces is easier, you are not lifting the entire prop, base and all into the air and over your head (okay my head because I am short) onto the rebar.

So now all the monuments work the same. Last year at take down we had a little confusion on how the monuments moved and our new demon angel prop took a very nasty spill and suffered a bit of damage.

She is next on the repair list :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Things I know for sure, part 2

I can pretty safely say that I will never (and I do mean never) own a spider as a pet....I would never sleep again. Ever. cats would just think it was a toy and spend all day trying to get it - and when they finally did, and they would trust me, they can get into anything.....anything (little furry demons that they are)....anyway, then they would "play with it" (torture it) and even though I don't like spiders....that would just be mean.

I bought a fish once.....I found it dead on the floor when I got home. I felt terrible. I learned my lesson.

The other reason I would not own a spider is that I am not crazy. (Nothing wrong with crazy, I like crazy.) Like my friend here who owns two - not one, but two - tarantulas! Excuse me, while I breath into this paper bag........

....much better now.

He was kind enough to send me pictures.....he was nice about it, he asked first. I was crazy enough to say "sure". What harm can a picture do? Let's take a look.

(silent screaming in my head)

Where is my paper bag?

The first pic is Hairy and the second is Rosie (I believe I have that right...they all look the same to me...scary!)

Actually these are great pictures, I like that they are taken with a tombstone and skull for the background. I actually kinda like that.....maybe this spider thing is not so bad.....

...I crack myself up sometimes.

Anyway - thanks to Munblyjoe at for the pictures!

So when I opened

this box of goodies from my blogger friend over at Merlin's Magickal Mistress (I won one of her giveaways) there is all this cool stuff in there and this plastic gargoyle with red flashing lights for eyes...which I promptly put turned on and put in my kitchen window and left it there all night.

If it was any other house in the neighborhood, I think someone would have wondered "what the heck is in that window" - but with our house no one thinks twice....I mean there were people making corpses in the driveway last weekend :D

Also got these cool Universal Monster dolls and some other bits and bobs. Including this cool stained glass piece that I put in my office because it went with the green trim on the windows.

Presents are good!!! Thanks Judith!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I usually leave movie

stuff to the very, very qualified horror bloggers out there.....but I ran across this trailer and had to share.

If you are afraid of elevators....this is not the movie for you.

Devil is a supernatural thriller with M. Night Shyamalan’s signature touch.
A movie that takes place in an elevator...that does sound scary, but not in the good way. He has been more miss than hit lately, but I am willing to give it a shot...can't be any worse than "The Happening" right?

I don't know about you

but I can't sculpt to save my life, but I know a haunter who can and he is offering up a chance to make us look good...better, I meant better....all of your haunts look fantastic!

Mr. Chicken is selling a limited number of skull skins this Halloween season! How cool is that! I just love his work. Watching the progress of his creations on his blog is one of my favorite things about the haunt season.

So, frog queen why buy a skin from Mr. Chicken's Yard Haunt?
Just look at these pictures!!!

I guarantee you that his skull skin will look 10x better than anything you will get at Spirit or the other Halloween shops and more important, you are supporting the home haunt community by buying from a fellow haunter - I so encourage all haunters to keep it "local" - on a national home haunter scale. (And anyway, Spirit pissed me off last year.....but that is another story, sorry...I am done ranting.)

In just a few minutes you can turn that normal skull into a perfect zombie or a menacing Frankenstein. If you happen to have a 3-Axis skull or plan to make one this year....this is perfect!

Click on over to his blog and check out the video he made of his haunt last year (which is cool itself) and check them out. If you would love one of them for your haunt just send him an email and work out the details.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I got a present!

Look what Guy at House Bloodthorn made for me!! (He is just a super cool person!)

Now I will start up a blog so I can post details on this project.

I cannnot believe I have a blog with spider in the title.......really? I really do think I lost my mind this time.

Thanks everyone!

Speaking of casting

you have to make the mold first. Here is the latest skull mold in progress....I believe this is coat number 4.

You will notice the ridge on the back of the head. It is there for a reason. It is where you cut the mold for release.

You can learn that and all kinds of valuable casting tips and tricks at our molding and casting class next month.

The second picture is of a new skull that our good friend and great minion Daniel worked on for us. We are creating a mold so that we can make casts out of foam and cement.....which I hope to sell on Etsy if I can get the time together and can figure out how to set up a store.....another project...why do I do this to myself :D

It is a really cool skull and I am looking forward to showing you a finished piece. If all goes well, we might have one to show by the end of the weekend.

Back to prop making!

Only about 20 more

to go (I need 48 total).

Husband has been hard at work casting me resin votive holders for the luminary. Now that it stopped raining they cure in about 24 hours, as apposed to this winter when it took about three days per cast.

He can complain about casting being tedious but I think it is still one of his favorite projects.

I also cleaned all the wax off the luminary and put a new coat of black paint on it.

I designed some fancy scroll work for the sides and husband is cutting them out for me on the scroll saw. I will paint and attach them to add a bit of elegance to the piece.

For a prop that is only for the party (and eventually my office) I have to say I have spent a ridiculous amount of time and money on this folly. I am being a very silly frog queen....

One day I am going to just have to walk away from this prop and call it done....but today is not that day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

They only look sharp

With a display this scale not only does building props take a while....but about now about 1/4 of the time we spend on the yard is on maintenance.

This is an example of a "repair" project. Both the blade for the reapers scythe and the sword for the demon angel were damaged this year.

Here they are in the prop hospital getting a bit of TLC (paint after they were glued back together) so they are ready for the display this year.

Now, off to tear the bases off of a few monuments and rebuild them.

Now, where did we put the Sawzall?

Ssssshhhhh...don't tell the "Joan" prop, she is scheduled for a base rebuild. I am a bit worried, after several years of wing replacement and the major revamp last year, I told her she would have a year off.

I lied. She is going to be mad. You think I would be more careful with a prop sporting a sword :) Let's hope I survive the weekend!

Happy prop making everyone!!

Thanks husband

I guess I could help everyone out and just put a link to the handout we use when we teach the class on video editing.

I covered more detail the posts - but this is a great overview.

Husband is going to one last guest post about projectors* - what works best for which effect. We have been through quite a few....we have a few secrets to share. You really want to hear about the new projector that came out this year!! Very cool!

*Hopefully husband reads this blog and will notice that I signed him up for another post :D

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So when are

we setting up the yard? I have been waiting here all day.....I am bored...I need some foam to scratch...I mean "distress".
I don't have the heart to tell him it is only July. :)

Unlike spiders

you can never have too many pumpkins. No, don't think it is possible.

I think you can trust me on this one. I am almost certain it is true.

That being the case you need (really you do!) to check out some of my good friends and haunters ShellHawk and Ghoul Friday's new stores.

ShellHawk's Creations

Ghoulish Goodies Shop

Both are rockin' some serious pumpkins at the moment. They are both different styles and since it is going to be impossible to choose, you are going to need to get yourself one of each. :)

At least one, two would probably be better......I tend to buy in I said, you can never have too many pumpkins and if you don't want that many (you are crazy) you can give them away as friends and crew love them.

Now, stop reading this blog and go get yourself some pumpkins!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Okay so you are right

they are not technically be spiders.......but they look like them, my phobia is not nearly that discerning.

You know that part of the top of a tomato? Or a small piece of stray thread from a loose hem? Yeah, in the right light that can make me scream like a little girl.....close works for me.

......and though I am intrigued. Do I really want to know why they are called "Harvestmen"?

What could they possibly be "harvesting" . . . . I mean besides my sanity and what little sleep I was going to get tonight! :D

Hey, this doesn't sound like

the Frog Queen? That's because it's not. It is husband! Chris has been bugging me to post a guest entry on her blog for months now. So here I am. She asked me to talk about how we edit our video effects that we use in our display.

Let me first say that I am a BIG fan of keeping things simple. I've been making a living in the PC computing world for over 25 years and I've found that it is much easier to get something done with a tool that is designed to do just what you want then with a tool that does everything anyone would want. So that is why I have stuck with Pinnacle Studio for our video editing. They are up to version 14. I'd just stick with the Standard version for $50, the ultimate and Ultimate collection are not worth the extra money for what we do with them. Although they are worth it if you plan to create your own video DVD's because the extra stuff is nice to have for getting creative with editing menus, titles, etc.

We do all our filming with an older model Sony Digital video recorder the records on miniDV tapes. It has a Firewire (IEEE -1394) connection for fast download speeds. I just connect the cable from the camcorder to the PC and using Pinnacle's Import tab I download the raw video.

Pinnacle has a few concepts you have to get used to and it will be hard to explain these without you playing with the software but once you get the hang of how they want you to do things it is pretty easy to move around.

So what I do is drag my video clip onto the Edit tab. Then using the clip editor I set the starting and stoping postion of the clip. Add a fade transition at the beginnng and ending of the clip. You can then add a couple of simple plugins. The first one I use is the Black and White to convert the entire video to black and white. Then I use the lighting plugin to adjust the video so the whites stand out and everything else fades to black. If I have unwanted areas that still show up I use a masking overlay title and create black blocks to mask of areas I don't want to show. Just be aware you can only create straight lined masks so you have to sometimes position a couple to get the area covered. You also want to make sure that the overlay title is as long as your video clip so it stays during the entire video.

There are two techniques when working with the audio. The first is to use the live audio recorded while filming the actor. This is the simplest approach and there are a couple of plugins that will let you change the audio and clean it up if needed. The other approach is to have a separate audio track (MP3, WAV etc) and add it to the video. Your actor will have had to speak along with this audio track so your video will match the audio. Then with a little fussing around you can line the audio track up with the audio of the video and that way you don't get any background noise and the audio track will sound nice. You can add music background to the audio regardless of how you get the audio and set its volume low so it is barely heard while they speak.

The export tab will let you create a DVD of the video or export to a file. We used to create DVD's and then just play them in a cheap player with the repeat on. Now we export them to MP2 video files and use a digital video player to play them on a 2Gb SD memory card.

I hope this helps shed some light on how we do our video effects and of course you can always email me with questions

It was a bit

of a whirlwind of corpsing on Saturday for me to actually verify that we actually had fun.....good thing that Marci and Dawn too pictures to prove it :D
Thanks guys! And thanks to husband for posting the pictures on our site. Check out this new link to our picture gallery for more pictures.

Husband asks

"what if you get too many spiders?"

Hum....what exactly does too many spiders look like? scary would that be?

Okay, that right there - is frickin scary people

....what force in the world lets something like that happen?

Seriously, I cannot sleep at night knowing that something like this could materialize over my bed.

Forget ghosts and zombies and axe murders....

I don't care how "not afraid of spiders" you are.....that is just all kinds of wrong.

BTW - I am off to buy a flamethrower....up until this moment in my life I never thought I would need one...but after seeing this I do....oh yes, I really do.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Okay so I might

be a little obsessed with the awesomeness that is the Bloodshed Brothers. So the next installment of my obsession is with this video.

I present to you: Matt and Wes Vs The Zombie Apocalypse.

It is all kinds of fun - check it out.....and when they are famous and they invite you to their movie premier....just remember where you saw them first! :D

BTW guys you are a bad influence on us....husband and I were watching your video blog saying "Damn, we gotta do something cool like that!" Like we need another project! :D

Is corpsing

a verb?

Well it is now :D

We spent all day Saturday with the crew teaching 16 lucky students how to make rotting corpse out of a Barney, webbing material and latex.

Best Saturday I have had in a long time!

Thanks Dawn for the pictures!!!

Thanks to the crew (the best minions in the world...and that includes you too Gabe :) ) for offering up their Saturday!

Thanks to Linda at the Skeleton Store helping us get all the skeletons here on time and giving free pens to all the students.

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