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Tested Mailbag: Gears of War 3 Hammerburst Replica!

Cap off your week with another edition of the Tested mailbag! This week's package is probably the biggest to ever arrive at our office, to the dismay of our FedEx delivery guy. It's an incredible 1:1 scale replica made by Triforce, a company we met at this year's NYCC. Thanks to Triforce for sending this massive package!

Time-lapse Refitting of an Airbus A380 Airliner

Airline Emirates produced this time-lapse look at the refitting of an Airbus A380--the world's largest passenger airliner--for the 3-C maintenance check. The entire process, which includes taking out over 1,600 components from inside the cabin and engine pylons, is documented in this awe-inspiring video. Bonus: this time-lapse of the six month process of building two massive oil production platforms is equally impressive.

In Brief: Three Intriguing Things about Interstellar

We discussed Chris Nolan's Interstellar on the last episode of Still Untitled, but here's further reading and watching if you want to learn more about the interesting post-production challenges of the film. On the audio side, The Soundworks Collection profiles supervising sound editor and sound designer Richard King about the foley work done on the film to meet Nolan's exacting standards. The sound of trucks being driven through cornfields is just as thoughtfully recorded the imagine sound of a spacecraft flying through a wormhole. Next up is a report by Director Jim Hemphill about his experience watching Interstellar in all six of its projection formats: 70mm, 70mm IMAX, digital IMAX, 35mm, 4K digital, and 2K digital. His findings are pretty surprisingly--the size of film or the resolution that it's projected isn't the only factor determining the viewing experience. And finally, Wired (who is being guest edited by Nolan this month) has a short story about the physical IMAX film platters needed to project Interstellar.

Tested: The Show — Jamie Hyneman's Racing Spiders Project

Jamie takes the stage at our live show to introduce his Racing Spiders project, an experiment in implementing a new linkage system that has never been tested before. Instead of individual motors responsible for each of the mechanical spider's legs, Jamie's design is powered by just two motors. The movement is mesmerizing!

How To Get Into Hobby RC: Driving Rock Crawlers

RC cars are supposed to be fast. Even if you’re not racing, the whole idea is to be speedy, right? Whether you’re slinging dirt or tearing down the street, you should be doing it like you’re on fire. That opinion does not stem from some unquenchable need for speed (I like slow airplanes). The main factor is that I require a challenge in order to enjoy RC…and where’s the challenge in driving a slow car? This mentality is what kept me away from RC rock crawlers for so long, despite their huge popularity. These are cars that are slow, sometimes really slow, on purpose. Hmm, no thanks.

On the other hand, this column is all about exploring every aspect of RC. So I couldn’t very well ignore rock crawlers forever. With only marginal excitement, I obtained a rock crawler and endeavored to find out what all the fuss is about. I can tell you now that I’m really glad I took the plunge. Despite their pedestrian speeds, I found that these vehicles offer unique challenges of their own.

What is a Rock Crawler?

As the name implies, rock crawlers are designed to climb rocks and rough terrain that other RC cars can’t handle. Crawling has expanded over the years to include more than just negotiating rock piles. These days, the term “crawler” encompasses technical rock crawlers, rock racers, and trail rigs.

Technical rock crawling is all about getting your vehicle over impossible obstacles. This activity is filled with radical, purpose-built machines. Rock racing is actually a full-scale racing sport in addition to RC. There are different aspects of rock racing, but the gist is that it combines elements of offroad speed as well as ridiculous obstacles (and mud, and noise). Trail rigs can still climb like a mountain goat, but they aren’t competition machines. They’re more about cruising with friends. Many trail rig drivers like to deck out their rides with scale details and drive them in places that normal RC cars dare not go.

In Brief: Stanley Kubrick's Boxes

I'm in a bit of a Kubrick kick lately. After visiting the Kubrick touring exhibit last year, I picked up several books related to the show--the companion book from the original Berlin exhibition, a book about artist Ken Adams' set designs for Kubrick's films, and most recently, Taschen publishing's massive tome celebrating and studying Kubrick's films. (So bummed I missed out on Taschen's $1,000 2001: A Space Odyssey book). A friend referred me to this 2004 article published in the Guardian about Kubrick's legendary personal archive of research and reference material stored in his Childwick estate, offering just a glimpse into the director's organizational obsessions. The story is republished at Cinephilia & Beyond, a website that I can't believe I've only heard about recently--you could spend hours here poring over essays about all aspects of filmmaking. Also embedded below is a 45 minute short documentary on Kubrick's archives.

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Tested: The Show — A Story in 256 Pixels

As the resolution and pixel density of digital screens are skyrocketing, we take a step back to appreciate the artistry of telling a story with the limitations of 8-bit graphics. Jeremy Williams celebrates the history and potential of pixel art in this presentation from our live show! (We apologize for some of the rough audio in this taping of our live show. The audio mixer at the venue unfortunately distorted audio from some of the microphones.)