Wednesday, January 16, 2019

QUiCKBRiCKS lives!


My short-form LEGO video channel finally earned its custom URL between seasons and is now accessible via http://youtube.com/c/QUiCKBRiCKS. I've just uploaded my first 2019 quick review and will be adding more over the coming months.  This channel is intended for folks who don't have time for or aren't interested in my standard long narrative reviews, and it has also been expanded out to cover previews of large groups of upcoming products plus some additional succinct content types yet to be demoed.

On a barely related note, I also picked up a shortcut for my build channel, so you can get to it on a computer at http://youtube.com/c/JangBuilds.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Wait a minute...


The above poll results from the Community tab on my YouTube channel seem pretty dang conclusive to me.  So how come whenever I dislike absolutely anything in a review, I receive a strongly negative viewer reaction, accusing me of being shamefully ungrateful and completely lacking the brainpower and life experience to understand the material and the decisions made by product designers?  Why is my opinion so often seen as an effrontery if it isn't 100% positive?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Flashback Friday, Speed Builds Edition


Over the years I've done a bunch of Throwback Thursday & Flashback Friday uploads covering vintage sets or LEGO catalogs, but this week I turned the retro focus on my speed builds, re-rendering a couple of roughly 6-year-old blur-lapses to the JANG Builds It! channel.  I have about 60 such back-catalog videos of varying speeds that I have always planned to bring over to the new channel.  The original plan from a year or more ago was to do the full transfer before launching such a (then hypothetical) build-only sub-brand, but when Studio B came together this season, just before the big release drop, there was no time.  A slow catch-up it will be, then.  No problem!

I also have over 40 hyperspeed clips from my 2015 "built in 60 seconds" experiment that I'm not sure what to do with.  I can slow them down a bit, some farther than others if I dig out the long-since archived original camera footage, but there's only so far that can get me.  I may bundle some together by theme if that makes sense in after a test run.

Because YouTube doesn't allow actually moving videos between channels, the originals will remain live on the big channel as well, doing not much of anything, just as has been peacefully the case up to now.  I've taken the necessary precautions to ensure that I don't get any automatic copyright strikes from myself for reusing my own content 😂

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Thoughts for 2019 & re-invigorating this blog

It's extremely difficult for me to fathom the concept that months have passed since my most recent post here, but the date stamps do not lie!  Truth be told, this site hasn't provided the value to readers it should have for quite a long time.  Most of my posts have been simple links to new videos I've published.  Sadly this can be a more reliable way to get notified of new content than subscribing directly to my YouTube channel and even "clicking the bell," since YouTube's algorithms these days are positively torturous and often seem simultaneously anti-viewer and anti-creator (unless you make or like exploitative compilations of other peoples' content or over-the-top insane conspiracy theories).  That's a rant for another place & time, though.

It's a new year and I'm finally ready to pull Jangbricks.com out of its slumber by giving it a new life closer to its original intended purpose.  I'm going to start (again) focusing on original, free-form text content here, almost as if it's a blog or something.  I've never been a fan of doing videos for the sake of doing videos, especially when a lower-bandwidth medium seems more appropriate, but I do occasionally have random thoughts I'd like to share, and this will again be the place to share them.  I'll begin presently!

Right now the parts of my life that intersect with brick-built construction toys and the "Jangbricks" brand are very well sorted, in some cases both literally and figuratively.  Here are some of the important things I've accomplished over the past couple of months alone:
  • Revived the "my thoughts" content format that I formerly used back in my days as a Hero Factory blogger.  Just six videos of this type got me comfortable with the production work and generated some of the strongest positive viewer engagement I'd seen all year, a fantastic result that I'll reach for again in the future.
  • Bumped up the actual visual quality & detail level in my standard videos.  If you're using a device/browser/app combo that supports it, you'll see a "1440p" video quality option showing up frequently, but even at the previous 1080p HD setting, you'll notice crisper edges and less noise & blotchiness.  I installed minor software & hardware updates on my main work PC and overclocked the processors to help me keep rendering times in check even though the output files now have significantly higher bitrates than before.
  • Bought and/or developed equipment & processes to capture more, and better footage in New JANG City, as previewed recently.  This was a challenging, but fun effort that should pay dividends for years to come as I tune hardware & techniques.
  • Completed a huge round of cleanup around the periphery of the studio, and in short-term product staging and intermediate-term storage.  Basically, I have a lot more space to move about and also to stage 2019 sets before & after their reviews (a bigger deal than it sounds like), and most things I interact with on a regular basis are better organized.
  • Created "Studio B," a very compact, yet very configurable space in which to comfortably film the building of sets with different visual styles.  Also finally soft-launched a YouTube channel just for said builds, something I'd been inching towards for well over a year.
While I'm on the topic of the new build channel (!), I'm really liking the setting and the freedom to be just a tiny bit more creative with regular work even though it technically has slowed me down to initially set it up & dial it in. I'm actually feeling really happy overall, and I'm not sure what all it's about, but there's a sense of general optimism lingering around.

It's a good start to the New Year.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Cyberpunk conversion of the LEGO Death Star (progress)


Back in March I dedicated the Mellemby District section of New Jang City to the viewers and asked for your suggestions for an overall theme or direction. Over 1,700 comments poured in and though the responses were quite varied, easily the most common request was for a cyberpunk scene (Blade Runner, Akira, lower Coruscant, Altered Carbon, etc.).  Just last month, I thought of finally putting my idle Death Star to use by converting it to work in this space, and viewers approved.  Thusly I build!

Videos:
Probably one or two more updates should bring this project to a close "for now" and then I'll switch over to something else.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle 71043 reviews



The second most complex LEGO set ever.  The longest build process for me, ever.  My longest time without sleeping, ever. My longest review video, ever.  This was a big deal.

Videos:

Summer 2018 LEGO Star Wars video coverage


It's been an extraordinarily busy season for me, with many.  Living on the West coast of the US, being in specifically in a region with stores that are increasingly respectful of contractually-mandated sales embargo dates, and accepting no sponsored products for reviews, I was at a tremendous disadvantage to most of the LEGO YouTuber world with respect to acquiring & reviewing products on a timely basis.  I did the best I could, though, and tried to at least maintain my normal standards of quality in spite of the time crunch.

Videos:


LEGO DC Super Heroes summer 2018 reviews


After the big run of Marvel merchandise not long ago, the DC world got limited LEGO representation this season, but one of the sets is nearly perfect.  Another is a remote-controlled batmobile.

Videos:

LEGO City 60200 Capital City playset review & overview videos


Early fan impressions of this set were not particularly glowing, with 2015's City Square & 2013's Town Square rating significantly higher.  The set finally came out in August in the US and I gave it both long- and short-form video treatments to offer viewers some additional tools to decide for themselves whether this City flagship set is worth a purchase.

Videos:

LEGO Harry Potter & Fantastic Beasts collectible minifigure series videos


These CMF series just keep getting larger, this one featuring 22 different characters from J.K. Rowling's infinitely successful Wizarding World book & movie franchise.  I've again offered up two ways to see each figure up close in my studio, with the traditional casual narrated style as well as the far more succinct "quick" look for folks less interested in the theme or with less free time on hand.

Videos: