Friday, September 08, 2006

Opening things back up again: Version 2.0 is coming...

Hi everyone...

Yes, I said in May that I was not going to post here again. However, some opportunities have come up and I'm going to roll with them.

The folks at Random Sabers put out a new product: the practice saber. Basically all it is is a basic 1 1/4" aluminum tube, 11" long, open at one end, closed up on the other end with a basic pommel. The tube can admit either a 3/4" acrylic "blade" or a 1/2" carbon fiber "blade" with an adapter. The tube has a hole drilled in it, so the "blade" can be secured with a set screw.

This product is intended for people who choreograph fan films and who do SW influenced martial arts, to have something they can whack around with and not stand a chance of damaging their fancier stunt sabres, something the Random Sabers guys have become famous for. However, with one look at the product, I realized that they would be ideal to use to create an improved version of "the twins" I built earlier this year.

The people who have watched the tutorial and who have commented on the tutorial have made some interesting observations. The first is that the resulting sabres seem to be too big and clunky. Upon reflection, I would have to agree. They aren't quite "in scale" with me. I'm a short person with small hands. Someone made the comment that the sabres might be better off in the hands of wookiees. While I don't entirely buy that, I agree that maybe they would work better in the hands of someone bigger and taller.

I made contact with Ryan from Random Sabers. I ordered two practice sabers, but specified that he use 1" diameter aluminum instead of 1 1/4", and make them 9 1/2" long instead of 11". I also ordered two 30" blue acrylic blades. I let him know that I would pimp his stuff like crazy on my next and hopefully improved tutorial. He was amenable, I sent him what he asked for via PayPal, ($51 for everything including shipping -- such a deal!) and he says he'll deliver by the end of next week.

Hopefully the more petite sized sabres will be more "to scale" with me. I suspect they will also be lighter on my belt than the current two. After all, those drain pipes are made of brass with a liberal amount of chrome, and so are the faucet handles. Brass is dense. Brass is heavy. Aircraft aluminum, which is Random Sabers' stock in trade, is light. Those aluminum nurnies that give my sabres their distinctive look seem like they're substantial and heavy but they are really quite light. For the whole thing to be made out of that nice light aluminum will be a real pleasure.

I will hopefully try to film at Woodbury. It's quiet. It's scenic. It doesn't have a major thoroughfare right next to it and a structure that acts as an audio lens. The tutorial that exists now was filmed in the patio of my apartment building, a standard SoCal apartment building with a central atrium/patio area. I also now have a proper shotgun mic, which is like the sonic equivalent of a telephoto lens. This will be more likely to allow me to be heard and not pick up extraneous noise. You might hear birds. You might hear the tolling of Woodbury's bell on the hour and half hour. But you won't get the distracting noise that people have been complaining about.

The finished product will not only hang from my belt, but will also be able to be used for kata. I have a martial arts background, although my active training ended with a bus accident in 1986. I still practice some of the stuff I remember from 20 years ago. And whenever I get a chance to show off a little, people make the comment that the simple stuff I do looks pretty good. The acrylic rods will help me judge where my moves are going, something very hard to do with one's imagination. Maybe it won't be as pretty as an illuminated blade, but it will look impressive and also provide a guideline for retouching in a blade in pictures.

This is going to be fun, folks. I'm looking forward to the new project.