The Coolest Thing You’ll See Today

(If you haven’t seen it already, that is.)

You can either watch it here on the Whatever, or click on the video for higher resolution and explanation. I stumbled upon it during lunch and have watched it a few times. Students of the visual arts continue to amaze me. The rendering and editing of this video took a gentleman by the name of Alexander Lehmann three years to complete. It’s well worth your few minutes especially if you are SF and/or disaster film addict like I am. (Don’t ask.)

The music is pretty awesome D&B too!

19 Comments on “The Coolest Thing You’ll See Today”

  1. Incredible video!

    I hire kids from the Art Institute in San Diego to illustrate my books. In 2009 I held a national contest that paralleled the plot of the third book in a series I wrote. I met this kid and he made this video for free. Not quite as elaborate as what I just watched, but a very cool vid anyway. Certainly something I couldn’t have afforded.

  2. Where is that song from? I know it but I can’t pin it down! The vocals weren’t in the one I know though.

    Gorgeous visuals.

    Why does it seem these creative students are able to produce these things where as TV and Hollywood always seem to water it down? Studios? Producers? I’m constantly amazed by what these folks do when unencumbered. Wish we could give create folk more leeway.

  3. Technically impressive, sure. But how is the pointless destruction of a city by a phallic lazer-shooting robot at all interesting?

    This is why I prefer science fiction in books to that in movies. In books you get things like Asimov’s foundation and Scalzi’s Last Colony. In movies we get things like transforming robots with inner city accents and exploding cities. Just because you can create a spectacle with technological wizardry doesn’t necessarily mean you should. (Then again, I might just have a bad taste in my mouth from sitting through last year’s Star Trek debacle on DVD.)

    Far more interesting would be a story of the building of that city, the technology behind those transportation tubes, the political compromises that had to be struck up to make the funding and the construction possible, etc.

    I know that wouldn’t fit into four minutes or go with a pumping, in your face drum and bass soundtrack. Still, it’s nice when this level of effort and technological expertise actually shares something constructive with the world.

  4. Well done.

    I find in interesting that traditional filmmakers try to ensure their work does not have any lens flares, but they’re so ubiquitous that digital filmmakers put them in their work intentionally.

  5. I know it took a long time to do, as these things can be, but the battle part of the video seemed just like a decent video game to me. I was more impressed with the early part, where the city really looked real, photographic with texture, not animation. They are getting better and better at that, at least with landscapes. Things that move work a little less well — the alien natives and creatures of the film Avatar looked animated, not real, despite advances in stop capture movement. So it wasn’t perhaps the coolest thing, but given that it’s coming from students, it is very impressive and showing the potential that is developing.

  6. I agree with #Winston.
    The beginning was good but once the robot appeared and just started firing I kind of lost interest.

  7. Very pretty (in a nihilistic, destructive sort of way). Other than that, meh.

    It would be better if he’d spent those years actually coming up with a story worth telling. Compare this to Makoto Shinkai’s “Voices of a Distant Star”. And he followed up with “5 Centimeters per Second” to boot.

    Jack Tingle

  8. I agree with Winston, have you seen the brilliant Animusic videos? There seem to be an awful lot of them and they are just wonderful.

  9. Those Animusic videos are amazing! The “Resonant Chamber” one gives me the same sense of wonder I feel whenever I watch the hammers and mutes on a grand piano dancing to the efforts of a skilled pianist. Utterly alien and mechanical, and yet they produce some of the most human sounds in recorded history.

  10. I’d rather see a well done video of a player going through Rez levels. The video is sad. Big city is blown up to the D&B beats of the 20th Century human cultures. How … typical.

  11. A very impressive piece of visual art. For those that didn’t follow the links, Alexander created the video for his final thesis for a Bachelor of Arts in Virtual Design.
    As stand-alone amateur music video it is very impressive.

  12. As an example of Lehmann’s CGI skills — awesome!

    As a stand-alone work of art — let’s just say, Not to my taste. I need a story. I got bored when the killer robot showed up.

    Before the robot: fascinating, gorgeous, evocative, hinting at trove of tales, a wealth of unknown, untold, possible stories.

    After the robot: just another killer robot.

    Someone with a story to tell needs to hire this guy right away! Give him pots and pots of money, so he can bring to life the sort of mind-blowing, impossible scenes you can’t otherwise put on film.

  13. @Winston @Bob @Pat @Madth3 @Jack Tingle
    I think these shorts allow us to open our own world. To create the story ourselves. Is it the beginning or the end. Is the robot the good guy or the bad guy? Why did it happen? I watch it and then start to create in my head. Now its my story and my world and not the world as defined by the author or screen writer.

    I think to compare a short like this to a novel or even full length feature is to compare apples and oranges.

  14. This morning i saw a squirrel eating out of the cat dish on my porch and it was cooler than this video. Yes, it was technically well executed, but as Winston says it’s bad science fiction. If they were going to nuke the city then what was the point of the scary, scary robot? How could a civilization have so many military resouces on available in such short notice and then roll all the tanks in neat little columns so they could get caught in one shot? Why were all those undersea elevators going up and down with no apparent purpose? Grad school graphics wasted on an elementary school plot.

    Science Fiction should be read. Learning about SF from video is like learning about world war two by watching Hogan’s Heroes.

  15. Sara @ 15 This short was, for me, just a very polished version of one of the commonest tropes in SF anime or a segment from a game. The set up was nice, but the only question I had was “Why is it called Exodus when everything is coming in to the construction then is destroyed?” The Animusic videos get me thinking all sorts of questions.

    Perhaps the music didn’t help, I am not a fan of drum & bass and I couldn’t see the relevance of the words to massive robot destruction. How about Iron Man by Black Sabbath or


    vermindust @16 two words – Silent Running.

  16. @Pat
    I agree it is a common theme – the wanton destruction of some future world.
    However, the fact that it had things that made no sense are what make you take the time to start building a world where they do. If it sorted itself out, you would forget it when it was over.
    If you have a short time and you want to make an impact, leave people wondering and wanting an answer.

  17. My fiance, not a fan of SF, walked by me and glanced at the screen when the machine dropped out of the sky. She took one look at it and said “that robot monster is going to f*ck something to death.”

    Boring. When I want a city F*ed to death, I will do it myself. It was lovely until then.

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