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April 14, 2009 4:54 PM   Subscribe

What's In The Box? (SLYT) (Via)

3DS Max + After Effects + 150 Euros = Amazing film from Tim Smit, a Dutch student.
posted by 3.2.3 (58 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nifty.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:29 PM on April 14, 2009


So it was NOT an ad for Samsung? Seriously though, damned impressive.
posted by educatedslacker at 5:40 PM on April 14, 2009


So what was in the box?
posted by DU at 5:40 PM on April 14, 2009


The amateur filmmaker in me: "ohhhh I've wasted my life."

Very good stuff. One could lament the usual traditionalism, "oh where's the plot?" or the lack of artistic concept, "It was just an ambiguous excuse for special effects and it looked like a video game!" But that's a misrepresentation to me. Sure this film was sor of those things but it happened to be rather good. I don't get why the same rules of avant garde or verite can't apply to a film like this as it aptly qualifies. If it's anything like a video game it is of a reflexive nature. Just great stuff.

Gonna watch it again.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 5:46 PM on April 14, 2009


Head crabs!
posted by Pecinpah at 5:48 PM on April 14, 2009


If it was an ad for samsung it's the first viral video that has actually made me want to buy something. I mean, their phone can survive a black- hole thingy and a shoot out with hazmat-clad goons- without losing battery power? Sign me up!
posted by sh0ganai at 6:02 PM on April 14, 2009


This can only mean one thing - HALFLIFE 3333333333333!

The FreeMan Has Returned!
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:07 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I found your box.
posted by aetg at 6:07 PM on April 14, 2009


I was hoping this was gonna be a Senor Wences link.
posted by Miko at 6:21 PM on April 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


William Shatner - What's in the Box (Seven)
posted by cavalier at 6:29 PM on April 14, 2009


So what was in the box?

Either Gwyneth Paltrow's head or Justin Timberlake's dick, I'm not sure.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:30 PM on April 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Either Gwyneth Paltrow's head or Justin Timberlake's dick, I'm not sure.

Possibly both.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:35 PM on April 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


I was rooting for Cenobites.
posted by mikoroshi at 6:53 PM on April 14, 2009


Nothing! Absolutely NOTHING!
STUPID!, YOU'RE SO STUPID!!
posted by The GoBotSodomizer at 7:13 PM on April 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


150 Euros? Where did he get a bus? Sometimes these "I made this for nothing" claims make me call BS. "I made El Mariachi for $500! Sold my blood plasma." Yeah right.

Nice stuff though. Makes me think the future of video games is gonna be awesome.
posted by fungible at 7:15 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


...and it looked like a video game!

More like it sounded like a video game. Specifically, Half Life 2. Which makes it even more awesome in my book.
posted by googly at 7:23 PM on April 14, 2009


Either Gwyneth Paltrow's head or Justin Timberlake's dick, I'm not sure.

Possibly both.


Since the music used is from Lost I'm going to say you possibly forgot Locke's father.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:24 PM on April 14, 2009


So it was NOT an ad for Samsung?

I think it was an ad for Samsung. An ad where they also had product placement for Sony and LG.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:25 PM on April 14, 2009


Listen to the audio commentary on the El Mariachi dvd, fungible. Rodriguez goes into great detail how he made his film for 7K (not $500).
posted by cazoo at 7:27 PM on April 14, 2009


What's in the box? Thom Yorke. Duh.
posted by Diskeater at 7:44 PM on April 14, 2009


Needs more crowbar.
posted by neuron at 7:44 PM on April 14, 2009


Is it for Lost somehow? It references http://babel-research.eu/, which has a HANSO foundation link at the bottom.

Is it somehow referencing how Lost might end? The guys in the quarantine suits are similar the quarantine on the island? or is it a complete red herring?
posted by miasma at 7:45 PM on April 14, 2009


I read this video more as a game demo reel than a film demo reel. This is either due to games approaching (visually, not narratively) film quality or simply the feeling that this is probably what Half Life n will indeed look like in ~5? years.

I found it very compelling, regardless of demo status.

Regarding film, I find the trend towards incorporation of video game FPS visual conventions in releases such as Children of Men and Crank (two great tastes that...) to be interesting. Conversely, I'd like to see more cinema narrative and experimentation make its way into gaming.
posted by i blame your mother at 7:58 PM on April 14, 2009


miasma: Right next to that is the Aperture Science logo, so I think they just picked some cool logos they liked and put them there.
posted by aubilenon at 8:00 PM on April 14, 2009


Is it for Lost somehow? It references http://babel-research.eu/, which has a HANSO foundation link at the bottom.

Doubtful; a WHOIS lookup on the domain name shows it being registered to timaciousd@gmail.com, and the Youtube username of the video poster is "timacious".

I'm guessing he just threw together the site to go along with the video.
posted by mrbill at 8:01 PM on April 14, 2009


At Babel Research website, go to any of the informational pages, scroll quickly to the bottom, and witness a black cat appear briefly on the screen. Chase it, click on it, and get redirected to this scrambled mp3:
http://babel-research.eu/snd/discedoMalum.mp3

I don't have any sound software handy; anyone want to take a crack at deciphering it?
posted by kaibutsu at 8:11 PM on April 14, 2009


It sounds like backwards speech; there's also the 'remote login' field on the page; presumably there's a number to be found somewhere to get further in.

And, yes, definitely viral.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:16 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lots of detail about the video here:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/03/18/whats-in-whats-in-the-box/
posted by mrbill at 8:16 PM on April 14, 2009


Here's another site that's track the ARG that this seems to be turning into: http://wikibruce.com/2009/04/a-big-box-of-babel-research/
posted by miasma at 8:17 PM on April 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't have any sound software handy; anyone want to take a crack at deciphering it?

When reversed, it says "FOUND: PROJECT ATTAINABLE(?) HAS FAILED"
posted by mrbill at 8:19 PM on April 14, 2009


Yeah, I'm going to speculate that it's more LOST hype. The most mysterious pepsi is the blue kind....
posted by kaibutsu at 8:39 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


This sort of undead cat. Not nearly as scary as it should be.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:43 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


ARG-tastic.
posted by GuyZero at 8:55 PM on April 14, 2009


Goddam that was a nice fakeout from the ARG team with the mobile phone brands. Appeal to our "oh, this is just a Samsung ad", then we go "huh???", and more curious. Well played.
posted by amuseDetachment at 9:19 PM on April 14, 2009


As folks have already mentioned, the only way that could have been more Half-Lifey would be to add head crabs and a crowbar.
posted by Caduceus at 9:28 PM on April 14, 2009


The box contains either a failed Xbox 360 or a cell phone charger. You heard it here first.

Neat video.
posted by Awakened at 10:29 PM on April 14, 2009


Nice.
posted by Minus215Cee at 11:23 PM on April 14, 2009


Via the wikiBruce page, an unfiction thread - they're old hands at ARGs. it's close to 80 pages long now.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:31 PM on April 14, 2009


Very cool. That's gotta be a Half Life viral, or else it's directly inspired by Half Life. I love this kind of action device in which the characters are rushing to complete a rather complex yet well-memorized series of actions, but are utterly alien to the viewer, who has to puzzle over the cause/effect of said actions. LOST does this a lot and it's extremely entertaining.
posted by zardoz at 11:47 PM on April 14, 2009


UBER-DORKY!!!
posted by DonnyMac at 1:00 AM on April 15, 2009


So this is what happens when we play with subatomic particles.

Very cool.
posted by mattoxic at 5:24 AM on April 15, 2009


This video gave me a really creepy vibe at the beginning, with all the singularity overtones. The glitched-out video displays, the internet feeds filling with terrifying news ("MILLIONS FEARED DEAD") and then quickly dropping out, the omnipresent fear of something unprecedented happening right now, and nobody understands it or knows what to do about it and it's too late, anyway.

It reminded me a lot of Terminator 3 (when SkyNet takes over), I, Robot (when the evil boss computer takes over), and even the end of that Diebold-mocking clip from the Onion.

Anybody else think it would be amazing if they made a proper movie out of the concept, with good special effects and a decent story? It's a real 21st-century fear, a sentient web as bogeyman. I'd like to see what a talented director could do with the concept -- something like this, but longer.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:45 AM on April 15, 2009


Given the "box" title, and the hollow red circle motif, I'm going to predict the ARG will be promoting an X-Box product, either hardware or game. Still, it's better not to know the ending lest it be some lame ski resort.
posted by Popular Ethics at 5:51 AM on April 15, 2009


Oh, you best not be dissing the lame ski resort ARG. That's how I first found Mefi! Endless paranoia and pedantic deconstruction of weird internet trickery... good times.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:55 AM on April 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


(good times)
posted by Rhaomi at 5:56 AM on April 15, 2009


You can get a lot of cooperation for free from organizations and governments, as long as they're not total douchebags. For example, a film-maker up the hall from me got the use of a city bus, plus driver, for an entire day -- for free -- to do some 30 second short films for a community project. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:09 AM on April 15, 2009


If it does turn out to be more than just an art film, here's my theory:

It's a viral ad/ARG promoting the next-generation XBox, which will launch with a sequel to Half-Life and a game based on the TV series LOST as two of its titles.

/ta-da
posted by deusdiabolus at 7:32 AM on April 15, 2009


The author was on a chat show here recently looking greatly bemused with, yet secretly proud of, his film's new-found success. He seemed to be a total geek who just wanted to make something beautiful. I think this, when coupled with other media coverage in NL, pretty much discounts the notion that it's a viral for anything. That, or the kid is a brilliant actor playing dumb and it's somehow the most elaborately obscured viral in the history of viral marketing.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:15 PM on April 15, 2009


And the internets provide: here's the interview, with reasonably accurate English subtitles (although they were slightly late near the end when I watched it just now).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:35 PM on April 15, 2009


Ah, apparently the guy previously won a contest (Dutch) with a friend to design a myth for Mythbusters (Eng subs).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:40 PM on April 15, 2009


With a nifty computer-brain-interface like that, why the hell does he need a cell phone?
posted by ymgve at 4:07 PM on April 15, 2009


Rhaomi: I think that, with the big black explosion at the end of the vid, it might be a different kind of singularity they're talking about.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 4:20 PM on April 15, 2009


Oh, I am SO going to be avoiding singularities after watching that.
posted by bigskyguy at 6:21 PM on April 15, 2009


Jeez, missiles would be such terrible weapons if they actually spiraled towards their targets like that.
posted by penduluum at 7:12 PM on April 15, 2009


I don't know, gnfti, the complexity of that ARG makes me think, well, he's acting. Unless, say, while he was spending countless hours poring over 3DS Max and After Effects, he just happened to also find the time to design hugely difficult web puzzles.

I told you he didn't make it for 150 euros!

And fwiw, I was in film classes with Robert Rodriguez in Austin. His family was quite wealthy, easily able to afford a "$7000" budget without selling any blood plasma. That's not to say he isn't a resourceful guy, who can make a good story that a lot of people will buy. I'm just saying that story was BS. But, you know, good for him.
posted by fungible at 8:42 PM on April 15, 2009


Fungible, Robert Rodriquez wrote an entire book about that lie. 'A Rebel Without a Crew'. He didn't sell any plasma, he was in a medical research study that involved him staying at a facility for a month. I have friends who have done a week or two of similar stuff.

If the book is a lie, it's pretty damn convincing. I find it odd that no one has unraveled his intricate web of deceit in the last 13 years, especially as the experience launched him into Hollywood and lots of money. You'd think that someone would have been interested in discrediting him around the time Sin City was making money.

I have very little respect for him as a film maker (his best film was El Mariachi, and he hasn't really improved since), but I don't think he's a liar.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:06 AM on April 16, 2009


Whatever. It's not like I have proof or anything. I've just never bought it. But who cares what I think? What does it matter if he did it or not? Apparently, these days you can make a major sci-fi epic for pocket change and a slice of pizza.
posted by fungible at 9:01 AM on April 16, 2009


I think it would be interesting if Microsoft tried to "reclaim" the Red Ring of Death as a symbol for new XBox hardware. I'm not sure if it would be brilliant or a disaster.

But, the green motif seems to be pretty well established from both the original and the 360.

Also, that Wikibruce link makes me doubt this was some one-man operation on a shoestring budget.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:36 PM on April 25, 2009


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