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I did some work for the Dream SMP! In this blog post, I will be explaining how that came to be and what I exactly worked on!
I will try to highlight everything I did, and why I think this is such a big deal!
I’ve already made a video about this topic, so if you prefer watching a video instead of reading, you can check it out below! It also features some bloopers during the recording process! :)
What is the Dream SMP?#
The Dream SMP was a Minecraft server created by the YouTuber Dream. SMP stands for “Survival Multiplayer”.
Minecraft is a very customizable game, with a bit of coding, you can create really fun games within Minecraft. However, if you don’t do any of that, Minecraft still has quite a few fun things built into the game itself. One of those things is “survival”. When you play Survival, you pretty much start out with nothing. You have to manually collect resources (like blocks and items). If you do this with multiple people, you would be playing on an SMP. So pretty much, the Dream SMP was Dream’s survival server.
Sometimes these SMP servers are publically accessible for anyone to join, but the Dream SMP wasn’t, The Dream SMP was pretty much exclusive to Dream’s friends (which mostly consists of other YouTubers). Those YouTubers started creating their own storylines (Fans usually called it lore).
My involvement with the Dream SMP#
Quackity - The End of Las Nevadas#
How it started#
Since I had been editing videos for BadBoyHalo and Skeppy, I was asked by BadBoyHalo to help with some recording and editing for Quackity’s Finale. He thought I would be a good fit since recording involved the use of Replay Mod, which I heavily used in the videos on Skeppy & BadBoyHalo Shorts.
So I started working. The deadline was pretty tight since I joined the team REALLY late. BadBoyHalo contacted me less than a week before the finale would air.
I mainly tried getting a lot of good-looking shots. I came up with a little trick to make this more efficient. Replay Mod has a timeline where you can set keyframes. I tried making sure that each clip started at the exact same time. This way they would automatically be synced perfectly in editing, and I could just choose which angle looked the best at which time.
The parts I worked on are:
- The start with Quackity and Tommy.
- Quackity mourning slimecicle.
- The dialogue between Punz and Purpled.
- Ranboo and Mexican Dream in limbo. (starting when they get on land).
There were 2 issues with my “synced clips” approach though:
First of all, my computer isn’t great, and once I got a few camera angles, My computer really started to struggle to play back those videos all at the same time. I managed to get around this by using lower-quality versions (also known as Proxies), That still had some issues, mainly since I had to render a proxy file for each angle, which took time. Also, those proxy files while low in quality, still had a pretty large size. However, this was way better than using the files in the original quality.
Another problem with this approach was that some clips contained cuts. The clips were already pretty much edited, the only thing I needed to do was replace the footage (which was their in-game POVs) with Replay Mod footage. Since footage cuts could break immersiveness, the goal was to “hide” the cuts by overlaying them with Replay Mod footage. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, since this means that the Replay Mod footage needs to match up with the beginning and end of the cut. The cuts in the footage were usually minor, but in one case, there was a clip where there were cuts when they were walking to a different area. I would still want to show them entering that area, but that might not match up with the dialogue anymore. A case like that is a bit more complicated. I ended up just not even showing them going there. In that specific case, it was fine since it was an area they had already been. (If you’re interested, the part I’m referring to is the dialogue between Ranboo and Mexican Dream, at the end of that part they walked back down onto the beach, but I chose to keep them at the top of El Rapids)
Working around the issues#
In the end, I decided to still use proxies, because even though it takes some time to create them, it speeds up the rest of the editing process by a LOT. I quickly realized that the synced videos weren’t a great idea. The more I got through the clips, the less I ended up taking that approach. A lot of times, I ended up just looking for a specific clip for a certain part of the dialogue. While this is a bit more difficult and sometimes caused me to record a clip to later realize it doesn’t work at all. The times it does work, it can be really fast.
In the end, I think it turned out great. I managed to finish everything within the deadline, and I am really happy with the shots I’ve worked on.
Since I hadn’t really worked with Quackity before and wasn’t very familiar with his lore, I was being a bit careful with sticking to exactly what he said, which I feel limited my creativity a little bit, but I was still able to add some cool stuff like the animation at the end of the Ranboo and Mexican Dream part where Ranboo starts writing in his book.
I am still really proud of it though and looking back, I’m not even sure if I would’ve changed anything. I am really happy with how it turned out and amongst the community, it was a huge success! I would absolutely love to be part of something like this again!
BadBoyHalo - THE EGG RETURNS#
How it started#
After Quackity’s finale came out, BadBoyHalo approached me, because he really liked how it turned out. He asked if I could help him too with his Egg Lore finale.
I was obviously really excited to work on something like that again, so we got to work.
I joined the team for BadBoyHalo’s finale much earlier than I did with Quackity’s finale. A lot of inspiration for BadBoyHalo’s finale actually came from Quackity’s finale. so I had a much bigger part in actually coming up with ideas.
As with Quackity’s lore, I also didn’t have much knowledge about BadBoyHalo’s lore. This wasn’t too big of a problem though, because I ended up being more in charge of visuals.
I came up with an idea for the intro. The camera flies through the Dream SMP world, one version of the world that’s normal and one version which is completely covered in red vines caused by the egg.
BadBoyHalo and I spent a few hours in call brainstorming shader settings and music that would fit well. Once we found settings that looked good. I started working on it.
Since we had two worlds in Replay Mod I created a camera path in one of the worlds. Then I copied that path over to the other world. Since the camera path and the worlds were pretty much the same (one of the worlds was just modified with a lot of red blocks), I could seamlessly transition between the clips.
I wanted to incorporate some glitchy VHS art. I’ve been experimenting with VHS tapes and analog video for many years now, and it can create some really cool effects. I did some tests where the whole intro would be in VHS quality, but it looked too bad for it to be really usable. I ended up overlaying a noisy vhs version over the real footage, that way it would just be a subtle effect. and I faded it in more at the end of the intro.
Once the intro was done, I was tasked to work on a recap. The recap was meant for viewers who missed the previous streams to still understand the story and know what happened. I was given a list of things to include and I tried including all of them. While working on it I realized it was really difficult to include everything while also keeping it short. I figured it’d be easier to remove things than it would be to add things, so I just kept going and if it was too long, I could just scrap some parts later. The recap ended up being about 10 minutes long, and BadBoyHalo did think it was a bit too long. However, the deadline was getting closer and there really wasn’t much time to work on it anymore, since it was at least functional, we decided to leave it and work on the things that still needed to be done. If we had extra time, we could go back to it.
In the end, we didn’t change it, so the recap was about 10 minutes long. In retrospect. I am glad we didn’t change it. From what I’ve seen, finales like this one seem to get more views than the streams before it. A lot of viewers hadn’t watched the previous streams, and the chat seemed to be reacting to the recap as if they were seeing the things for the first time. Without the recap, the rest of the stream probably wouldn’t have made sense to them, so in retrospect, I am glad that it was kept the way it was.
The Egg Speech#
The last thing I worked on was the egg speech voiced by Velvet. At this point, we were getting dangerously close to the deadline. Most of it was edited on the day it was going to go live. I spent that day in a voice call with BadBoyHalo working on it. The reason this part hadn’t been worked on earlier is that Velvet hadn’t recorded the speech yet. Final adjustments to the script were made the day before, so we were really on a time crunch.
Once the speech was recorded, I needed to get footage for it. This ended up taking a bit longer than I expected. Since I didn’t know much about the lore, I needed to make sure that whatever I put on the screen would work with the story, now honestly this isn’t very difficult, but if you don’t really know what you’re working with, you start overthinking things. Most of the things I showed on screen pretty much just followed whatever was being said in the speech. I did accidentally run into a continuity error that almost slipped through the cracks. In the speech Skeppy talks to the egg to make a deal, but the footage I showed of Skeppy was in the wrong Egg room because in the story, the Egg moved. Luckily BadBoyHalo picked up on that though, and I changed it.
Speaking of that shot of Skeppy talking to the egg. I’m really proud of the transition. EvanMCGaming came up with a really cool trailer idea where Skeppy would be a silhouette, so I used that idea in the egg speech to reveal that Skeppy was behind everything. I used two Minecraft accounts and I teleported those to my main account, one had a black skin and the other one had a Skeppy skin. Then with Replay Mod, I turned that clip into 2 videos, where for each video, one of the two accounts was hidden. and then in editing, I faded in at the perfect moment to make it look like the skin changed as he jumped toward the Egg.
Another cool thing I’m proud of during the speech is the shot where I do the same thing I did in the intro. I got the two worlds, and placed NPC’s of the Dream SMP members. and when the egg says “You are ruled by hatred” when he says the word “hatred”, I quickly transition to the Egg version.
The music choice for the speech is kind of accidental. I knew that Quackity used some music by C418, and since his finale was really good, I also started looking into his music. I found a song that I liked and just put it over the speech, and it fit incredibly well.
Since different people worked on different sections, we all ended up with separate videos, but for the live stream it was easier if they were all rendered into one video. However for this part, since I was getting so close to the deadline, it wasn’t really possible to render it all out into one video anymore, so if I remember correctly everything EXCEPT that part (and the credits that came after it) was one video. and then once the first video was over, I think BadBoyHalo had to manually switch to the other one. I am not 100% sure if that is how he did it, but that’s how I remember it. You can see that the Egg Speech is the only clip in the stream that doesn’t have black bars because those were added by BadBoyHalo throughout the stream, not by me. I am personally not the biggest fan of the addition of black bars, so secretly I am kind of happy they didn’t get added for the Egg speech.
Looking back at it today, I am so happy to have worked on these two finales. It is clear that the Dream SMP meant a lot to a bunch of people, so it’s really cool to have been a part of that. I would love to be part of something like this again, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.