Tuesday, April 30, 2019

It's WAR! LEGO reviews vs. city updates & MOC work

The numbers are clear.  When asked directly, the majority of JANGBRiCKS YouTube channel viewers want to see reviews of current LEGO products more than anything else, by a significant margin.  However!  There some other reliable quantitative measures very strongly disagree.  The situation is just maddening enough to motivate the kickoff of a risky, radical experiment, and it all starts this week.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A New Personal Record!

Today I filmed, edited, and published a total of 6 hours of content to YouTube:

  • 1 hour 47 minutes of real-time HD Pure Builds
  • 40 minutes of shortened HD time-lapse versions of those builds
  • 19 minutes in a 4K quadruple-review on my Playmobil channel
  • 15 minutes in a 4K set review on the main LEGO focused channel
In all I chewed through 62 gigabytes of raw video footage and uploaded 13 gigabytes of finished product.

Not bad for a day's work?

PS: For MOC fans, the news is that I worked on a custom car for 5 hours the previous night. Didn't get it done, stuck on a perplexing build challenge.  I'll keep working on it and when it's done, it'll be worth about 30 seconds of video viewing time 🤷‍♂️

Saturday, April 13, 2019

I Did It All Wrong (but I'm fixing it)

It's time for me to get very, very candid about some thoughts that have guided my actions, how I made some very serious mistakes in planning New Jang City, and how I've permanently turned a major corner in the course of my involvement in the LEGO hobby on the whole.  Grab a snack or beverage, and let me fully break the situation down for you.

Monday, April 8, 2019

In my LEGO City, the sky is rising

When I first set foot in the second living/family room of this house, I immediately knew this is where I would put the LEGO city, if I got so lucky as to win the bidding war in the cut-throat near-coastal California real estate market.  I thought about how I'd arrange the tables and started to consider options for smoothing out the very uneven background image so viewers could focus on the LEGO, not the fireplace, the wet bar, goings-on in the next room over, etc.  Four years after winning the bidding war, I've taken the next major step in implementing my vision.

How much time goes into one set?

On a whim of curiosity, I tracked the time I invested into one new set, Avengers Compound Battle 76131.  To the public, there was a 23-minute build video and a 19-minute review produced, or a maximum of 42 minutes of total content, out of which the average viewer (per current, real data) will watch 11.5 minutes.  For those fleeting moments of entertainment, check out what transpired behind the scenes.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

I saw the sine

Recently I learned the hard way that surge protectors are a lie.  During an unusually windy storm, there were a couple of power outages back to back that caused power irregularities at their ends that went straight into my main rendering computer and wreaked havoc.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

End of an era

Over a decade ago I purchased my first pair of "softboxes," light bulb receptacles with each a flimsy tent-like pyramidal reflector structure and a translucent sheet of cloth over the big end.  It kicked off the second phase of my quest for an ideal backdrop & lighting setup for YouTube video reviews of radio controlled model cars & trucks.

Today, I disassembled that very piece of equipment, its base yellowed from hundreds of hours of being cooked by storebought household CFLs and LEDs.  I had collected and employed other softboxes over the years, but it's fitting that one of my first to enter service would be the last to be exit.  This strange geeky detail has meaning to me because so much of my work, literally thousands of videos across three main channels and several spin-offs, has been defined by that ever-whiter background and steadily diminishing shadows.

My goal was always to maximize viewers' ability to focus on just the products they came to see with absolutely minimal fluff.  I tried some different options when I ventured into brick-based construction toys, but the lure of the white void was irresistible and viewers all but unanimously applauded its return.  Since then, my methods of achieving the increasingly complete nothingness have evolved significantly, but there'll always be a special place in my memory & heart for those first two, perpetually awkward, always in the way, front- and top-heavy softboxes.  Who knows, maybe they'll get a new lease on life when I start up the inevitable "Studio C."

Friday, February 8, 2019

Insert The LEGO Movie 2 Review Clickbait Title Here (no spoilers)

(I was the first in the theater for this Thursday matinee premiere)

"Absolutely Awesome." "Everything Is Awesome-ish." "Everything Is Not Awesome."  Early professional evaluations of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part have run the gamut from sounding like paid endorsements to utterly trashing the film as a time-wasting bore.  This deep contrast truly puzzles me because while extremism is the ruling force of our generation and histrionics generate clicks & ad revenue, TLM2 itself is a very even-keeled, level-running, inoffensive piece of work.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Hi I'm JANG, and I'm an addict

I suffer from a debilitating compulsion and I cannot escape it.  No matter what I do, I cannot keep myself from continually attempting improve the quality of my videos and the efficiency of producing them.  With my main white void studio I used to do changes once or twice per season, but these days I've found myself with less room to "improve" (a subjective term, I know).  Each update has moved the bar less, up to & including the last minor light rebalancing just a few weeks ago.  I'd assume many viewers don't even notice the before & after differences anymore as I'm well into the realm of diminishing returns. With Studio B for my builds channel, on the other hand, everything is completely fresh and there's no well-defined end point for visual success.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Hero of What?

So on YouTube there is this guy.  This guy has this face.  This face is in every thumbnail.  It's always the same.  He has an alias, and when you put it into Google Translate it comes out "Hero of the Stones."  Stones?  I get the feeling it's one of those transliteration vs. translation situations, and what's really intended is "Hero of the Bricks," for aside from specializing in miniatur-gesichtsbilder, he does a whole lot of LEGO stuff. 

At least, that is, he did a lot of LEGO stuff.  Apparently this brick/stone guy is going to start doing just a bit less after the LEGO legal team sent him a love letter (warning: strange language, use closed captions & auto-translate) that was much too early for Valentine's Day.  (Then again, the Winter Village sets always release in what, early September?)  Apparently the real-world Danish Agents of Shield analogue known as Dem Murstenbeskyttere is concerned that good citizens of the world, and especially a town in Germany where Mr. Stones runs a small toy store, may be victims of a truly nefarious plot.