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    Adam's Tour Diaries #3: RIGHT out of West Wing

    Woke up at 10 a.m. again. I have to be careful. I like sleeping in too much. I can’t calcify into this bus.

    In D.C., Jamie and I headed over to USA Today to do some press about the tour. I hit a bookstore to buy a couple of Haruki Murakami novels I’d not yet read (one is a compendium of short stories) and settled in for a little writing and autograph signing (we sell autographed pix at the merch table, and Jamie and I must sign hundreds of autographs a day).

    Jamie tried singing. Didn’t work out too well …

    My friend and statistician Chip and his wife came by the theater a little early to talk about stuff in my dressing room. The theater in D.C., the Warner, is the second smallest of our tour. Not the house; the stage. This required some interesting problem-solving, and leaving a couple things onstage throughout the show, but it didn’t affect the performance. The house in D.C. is lovely.

    Quadcopter Racing with First Person Video!

    We've tested different types of quadcopters before, but have never flown them like this! Norm tags along a meetup of local FPV quadcopter racers--people who build and race mini quads by flying them with first-person video cameras. We learn about how FPV quadcopters work, why they're so much fun to spectate, and witness some unbelievable stunts! (Thanks to Charpu, Pablo Lema, and Eric Cheng for their quad footage!)

    Making a Miniature Sword from a Nail

    I'm not sure what I like most about this short video from DIY channel InspiretoMake: the fact that he's making a beautiful miniature sword from a nail, the time-lapse macro video, the dramatic music, or that the guard of the sword is just an even smaller nail. Wonderful!

    Adam's Tour Diaries #2: What a Jerk!

    By the time I woke up in Philly on the bus, I was already an asshole.

    Dammit, I overslept.

    I didn’t think it was possible: I wake up at 6 a.m. every morning in San Francisco; that’s 9 a.m. on the East Coast. But I guess I was tired. That and the blackout curtains on my bus are REALLY good. By the time I looked at my phone to see the time, it was 10:40!

    Crap! I’d made plans with Paul of Paul and Storm to head to a museum and have lunch. Plans for 10 a.m. He’d been hanging out and was at the bus in a minute. But what a jerk! (Me, I mean.)

    We didn’t have time for the museum (because I had a matinee), but we did enjoy a lovely lunch together with Paul’s awesome daughter. They dropped me back off at my bus in time for sound check. Bye, Paul! See you at Wootstock in SF in January!

    Wow do I look crazy here.

    The matinee crowd in Philly was terrific. Super raucous. Some great interactions on stage. I had a couple hours between the matinee and evening show, and managed to see another friend, Jill, with whom I had a lovely dinner. Very social day.

    The evening Philly crowd was even more raucous than the afternoon crowd, but just a smidgen.

    Adam's Tour Diaries #1: On the Road Again

    After a lovely and relaxing three-hour Amtrak trip (the train is my FAVORITE method of travel) and a 90-minute car ride, I arrived in Williamsport, PA., for the start of our fall MythBusters: Behind the Myths tour.

    BEST way to travel. I promise I’m having more fun than my face suggests.

    We’d performed the show throughout Australia and New Zealand this summer, and the show still felt fresh in my mind. I arrived backstage to find us hamstrung in one of our set pieces by a technical snafu. No worries. We reorganized the first act about 30 minutes before showtime, and the new running order went very smoothly.

    The stage was a bit cramped, so we had some tile-puzzling to do to make all of our stuff fit, but fit it did. We have a great and resourceful road crew.

    I also got to see the bus I’d be traveling in. It’s going to be home for more than a month, and I settled in, putting my stuff away and knolling (you know how I am).

    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.

    Norman
    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.

    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.)

    Tested: The Show — Cooking with Cricket Flour

    For our live show in San Francisco, Megan Miller of Bitty Foods gave a presentation about the possibilities of cricket flour--cooking and baking with flour made with insects. Here's why that's not such a strange idea, and how the idea can have an impact on the way we think about food production for a growing global population. (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.)

    Making of Benedict Cumberbatch's Wax Statue

    In the past two months, we've showcased several examples of excellent sculpting work: Frank Ippolito's sculpture for the Farnsworth Project, Immortal Masks' sculpts for silicone masks, and Mike Hill's lifelike portraits of horror actors. But we haven't explored the sculptural work done for wax statues, like the ones made famous by Madame Tussauds galleries. It turns out that the artists at Madame Tussauds document the making of new figures in their collection, and this new making-on video for Benedict Cumberbatch's wax figure is fascinating to watch.

    Thomas Richner's Cardbard Millennium Falcon Model

    Several of you sent this link our way, and it definitely deserves the love. Thomas Richner, an Associate Professor at Columbus College of Art and Design, spent two months building a large scale replica of the Millennium Falcon out of excess cardboard found in his basement. According to his build log, the goal of the two-month project was to replicate the five-foot shooting model of the Falcon used in Episode IV, with as much detail as possible. Greeblie placement took the most work, and details were inspired by both a Kenner Toy and photo references of the Pinewood production. I love the color work on the cardboard panels and the tiny relief details that give it distinct light profiles from different angles. After completion, Richner took his model to a green screen set at Columbus College for a lovely photo shoot. I can't emphasize how important it is to show off your projects with a thoughtful photo shoot afterwards--it goes a long way to helping people appreciate it, and is half the fun!

    Photo credit: Thomas Richner

    You can see all of Thomas' photos from his amazing build in this Imgur gallery. (h/t Reddit and several Tested readers).

    Jason Freeny: No One Teaches You How to Be an Artist

    One of my favorite things about our trip to New York last year was being able to meet and interview pop artist Jason Freeny at his home workshop. Freeny, who is well known in the designer toy community for his unique "plastic surgery" sculptures showing the anatomy of toy characters, is featured here in this short video produced by Nuvango (formerly Gelaskins). It's a great little piece showcasing the art and giving us more insight into Jason's process.

    Image Gallery: Nicholas Acosta's Cinerama Visualizations

    Artist Nick Acosta shares with us his Cinerama stitches imagining the original Star Trek in epic scale, but has also created visualizations from other sci-fi favorites, including Battlestar Galactica, Airwolf, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Those images debuted at our live show, but here they are again in full resolution. They make great tablet wallpapers! (Bonus: you should also check out Nick's explorations in video editing, in which he recuts, rescores, and mashes up classic shows like Dr. Who.)

    Tested: The Show — Star Trek in Cinerama

    On October 25th, we put on our first ever stage show in San Francisco, featuring friends and makers from our community. The first presentation was given by graphic designer Nick Acosta, who imagines how classic science fiction television shows would have looked like if they were shot in epic Cinerama widescreen. (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.)

    Tested Mailbag: One for Each of Us

    It's time for another edition of the Tested mailbag--do the mailbag dance! Five packages arrive at our office, sent all the way from Sweden. They're individually labeled for Will, Norm, Adam, and Jamie, so we tear open the ones for us and examine the contents. Neat stuff within!