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Irvnnan's thot bloggers

Irv & Nan: family, ministry, life

Location: orlando, florida, United States

Friday, March 25, 2016

'My Last Day' at Easter

It's hard to believe that it has been 5 years since the release of My Last Day - a recounting of the Crucifixion of Jesus as told through the eyes of the thief that was crucified with Jesus; the one to whom Jesus said, "Today you will be with me in paradise". 
The roots of the project actually started 12 years ago.  If you are interested in a brief recounting of the history, please see this interview with Mike Peckham, the leader of our Film Production department.  I helped recount the history and checked in with Barry Cook to make sure we had the facts correct.
But it hasn't stopped with just a short film... 
We have been hard at work on a gospel presentation based on this short little animé film.  Since the spoken parts were taken from existing dialog lines in our 1,400 JESUS film translations, we now have nearly 130 translations online as well. 

In fact, this Easter we have a cell-phone friendly form of the gospel presentation you can share with your friends as well as a YouTube channel.  Check out the helpful blog post about using it here.

He is risen!  He is risen indeed!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Nkoya language dubbing

It's great to know that the Nkoya language version of the JESUS film has been recorded and is now available for use in Zambia.  We are excited to share some video with you of the actual dubbing that took place in May of 2015.  In this clip you will see some of the men performing the voices for the crowd scene - a crowd of soldiers gambling for the clothes of Jesus during his crucifixion.  As you can see, the walls are lined with mattresses which is typical for field recording situations (to help record the voices without the 'echo' that a small room can produce...
Here you can see an early test screening of the new Nkoya language dubbing of the JESUS film.  When the team goes to record a new language this is something that is done to help insure that the language is correct and to help catch any problems while they are still in the area and can still bring the actors back to make corrections.
Her Abel (who coordinated the project) gives a special thank you and word of appreciation to you and to all those that made this project possible.  There were many years of Bible translation that happened before the JESUS film script could be adapted for this dubbing.
We have been excited to be a part of seeing this language be translated and dubbed with your help!  Now the real work begins as the churches in Zambia use this translation with the Nkoya speaking people.  Please pray for them and for the hearts of many Nkoya speaking people to be drawn to Christ!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A billion views....

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
 I’m reminded from these scriptures that Jesus didn’t lay out a ‘Plan B’.  It started with people (the disciples), it would take place through the church, and it would end at the world (all nations).  How does that plan continue today in the modern, interconnected world of phones and media?  At your church I’m sure you could give a testimony of how your congregation and your church’s overseas discipling work is accelerated through the use of technology and media.
Here at the Jesus Film Project we have a detailed plan for how we are serving the body of Christ in fulfilling the Great Commission through the JESUS film and our growing film library.  One of the outcomes of this plan is that we expect to see 1 Billion views of our media over the course
of the next 5 years.  These billion views will be in support of seeing 7.5 Million churches planted by the denominations that we partner with.  These views will also support the discipling and church growth/training efforts of another 7.5 million churches.

Part of this effort involves the production of new media that is designed to reach the next generation.  That is why were thankful for your prayers for 5 the new scripts we mentioned last fall.  They are now done!  They use JESUS film dialog (like My Last Day) to bring more of the gospel story to the next generation. 

We are now starting the process of planning that, Lord willing, will result in these films becoming freely available in the world’s top languages – perhaps in as little as the next 2 years.  We would greatly appreciate your prayers!  Please pray for wisdom in the initial plans that are needed to start such a big project!  Thank you for joining with us in this great work!

Archivo Cero completed!

You may remember that we were involved in working on the animation for Archivo Cero (which means File Zero) back in 2011.  Former Disney senior animator Dom Carola was our animation director and I was the producer.  Our crew of about 14 people built the CG models and sets for the first 7 (of 14) episodes and Ovi storyboarded the rest of the series.  Then production went back to Spain and last year the last 3 1/2 episodes landed at HuHu Studios in New Zealand.  The first 7 episodes were posted in English here.  They were actually animated to the Castilian Spanish track for strategic reasons so the English lip-sync doesn't look as perfect as the Spanish version.


Now that it is done (Praise God!) the ministry strategy and rollout can begin.  The initial language versions are Spanish, Catalan, English and Latin American Spanish.  Rather than just post all the episodes it will be held back for various countries and their strategies as it becomes clear how to most strategically use this new tool.  One of my jobs right now is to set up the script for easy translation, subtitling and dubbing.  Please keep me in your prayers as I work with our staff in Spain and other parts of the world to do this in a way that is easy to use.  (Things sure have come a long way since I was writing programs in C to help this process for editing and dubbing early translations of JESUS).

Friday, February 20, 2015

My Last Day gospel presentation in 6 languages


I posted a page with links to our 6 language versions of the My Last Day gospel presentation.  You can also download it to Android tablets and iPads with the free iSpring app.  Instructions are also on that page.  If you have any stories about sharing this with people I'd love to hear it!  You can email me at irv DOT klaschus AT ccci DOT org

Monday, October 20, 2014

VFX and communicating the gospel

Using media to help preach the gospel of Jesus Christ is nothing new for the JESUS Film Project. But the use of Damah film festival and later the Global Short Film Network.  We have used dialog lines from the JESUS films for such things as My Last Day (a 9-minute Japanese anime film about the crucifixion of Christ) and more recently File Zero - a 14-part 'web episode' series due to be released in 2015.

From our letter this month I hope you picked up that we are finding that short films are a great way to start conversations.  We've had reports from around the world from people telling us of how easy it is to start a conversation when you have a short film that you want to share with a friend.  If you know about YouTube - you know this has become a global phenomenon. 

In our case, we seek to make films that start conversations that can lead to Christ!  We acquire what we can from other sources, but we also end up making some of the films here in Orlando and with our partner 'Simple Bulldog' in Austin, TX.  One thing I'm excited to bring to our film team is my experience in CG (Computer Generated images).  I've studied the area of visual effects for film for many years and done some of my own tests (I was even making stop-motion animated films as a teenager with my friends back in the 1970's).  So being able to expand into this area with our work here is like a dream come true!   
Shooting a simple set on a greenscreen stages (with visual
markers on the back wall for camera tracking)
It's great to be involved in something that is a constant challenge - and visual effects for film is an enormous challenge.  The photo above is something I took of our cameramen this week as we were gathering some greenscreen footage and a location shoot in Orlando.  This is footage I need to do some tests with camera tracking software (Syntheyes).  This is software that allows you to analyze film in a way that makes it possible to combine 3D generated images with filmed images.  This is the modern basis for visual effects that you see in most movies today.
Location shoot for a 'sky replacement' shot.
So why should we be involved in visual effects?  We are doing this to expand the range of the type of films that we can do.  Visual effects and the ability to extend a simple set allows you to tell more compelling stories.  It also gives you the possibility to do things in a much more economical way, for instance getting a shot set in Paris or ancient Jerusalem, without actually having to transport a crew to another country.  Visual effects and animation are closely tied together - and they allow you to show things and communicate in ways that are difficult to do any other way. 

We're starting small, but even small efforts require a huge learning curve (the first manual for SynthEyes is 500 pages long!).  Would you pray for me and my part - that I would quickly learn what I need to in order to be able to learn this and other software for these initial tests?  Also, please pray with us according to Matthew 9:38 for more 'laborers for the harvest' - other like-minded people that can lend their expertise, advice, tips, and even other full time people to join us that have a passion and vision for using their skills in this area to reach people for Christ!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My Last Day gospel presentation out of 'R&D'

Research and development is a funny thing.  Sometimes you get a group of people together and they have a great idea but the timing is not right.  That is my perspective on this meeting that we had two years ago.  The meeting was for the purpose of following up on the 'My Last Day' anime film that we had completed the previous year with Brethern Entertainment and Studio 4C in Tokyo.  This 9-minute film on the crucifixion of Jesus had been a test, a 'pilot film' for the idea of combining JESUS film dialog with new visuals and new story telling (in Japanese anime) to tell the story.

The group had been excited about My Last Day and felt more of the life of Jesus needed to be done in this form.  Their key conclusion though, was that the next step was that it needed to be combined  with a gospel presentation on a mobile device that would be simple enough that anyone could use.  The immediate idea was to develop an app - but as it turned out the timing was not right.

I did have the option to start working with Karl, our campus R&D guy in Hong Kong.  Karl and I came up with a way to do the gospel presentation in a series of Photoshop files and 2 clips from My Last Day.  I feel like it was the Lord's provision when I found the iSpring plugin for Powerpoint.  Now we could export each screen as an image out of Photoshop and combine these with the videos in Powerpoint.  Their plugin allows you to produce an HTML5 website that can also be downloaded into their free iSpring app (on iPad and now Android).  You can see the result in English here

While it is not an app per se - it has some of the elements of what Karl was envisioning, combining video, images and some animation - viewable on a mobile device.  It also is easily translated because of the use of My Last Day (now in 117 languages) and Knowing God Personally (or the Four Spiritual Laws) which is also translated in something like 100+ languages.  One of our projects this year is to work with field people and make this available in 20 more languages.  Please pray for John and me as we work on this.

For His fame and glory!  Under His grace!


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

CG and Apologetics

As Cru staff here in the U.S. we have a core of about 12 graduate level classes we need to take toward a certificate.  I was recently able to take a class on Apologetics online.  Christian Apologetics is of course the study of the defense of the Christian faith.  For my final project I could have written an article or prepared a speech on one of the essential topics.

But of course, being immersed more and more in CG (computer graphics imaging) as was interested in the 3rd option - a Powerpoint project.  I increasingly use more CG tools in the Film Production department of the Jesus Film Project (doing some visual effects and also helping 'pre-visualize' new projects we are researching or about to produce). 

The course instructions were that  this would Powerpoint would be the type of thing you could go through with a student who might be a new Christian.  The tool should help then gain some grounding in the Christian faith and how to defend their beliefs.

I had the idea of structuring the tool around my experience in the 1970's.  Back then my older brother, Jerry, was a Star Trek fanatic.  Every day after school he had to see Star Trek.  So I think I saw all of those episodes, at least several times.  Hence the little intro to my Powerpoint.

Then I had the idea from one of the episodes where Captain Kirk was split into two people, an 'evil twin' version of himself and a sort of purer and more docile version of himself.  That morphed in my mind to an idea: what if I made this a conversation between me and my doubter self?

I knew the characters had to be easily identifiable; that they should even have an outline - a silhouette - that is different.  The simplest solution for my 2 or 3 days of work on this - take a 'Character Studio' character , change the shirt color, and have one version with hair and the other without.  I was able to setup and light the characters in Autodesk Maya, render out the frames in Viewport 2.0 (realtime), and then assemble them in Powerpoint.  I also had the iSpring plugin so that I could export the whole thing to HTML5.  It includes an intro, a short defense of God's existence, and the longer section on the defense of the resurrection - and a mini-epilogue.  You can see it here.
from the Intro to a defense of God's existence

There was only enough time to generate the images and do the text work in Powerpoint, but it definitely showed me the potential of how more images and even animations could be used with this idea to make an engaging way to learn and teach content like this.  I only had time to add the extra images (such as the one of the Universe above, or Lincoln or Hercules) to demonstrate the larger idea.  But, having a conversation with my 'doubter self' on this set you could do wild things to demonstrate the images and history involved.  I liked the idea of a huge screen behind the characters that reflects the things they are thinking of.

Let me know what you think!