Name: Quake is Potat aka Melechesh aka huehuehue
Notable Work(s): Hero, Imperator

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, interests, etc.?
I spent most of my life in Spain, and like most of us I started playing video games from an early age, including lots of Q1 and Q3, however over the years I gradually lost enthusiasm with gaming in general, to the point where the only thing I really ever played after 2009 was QL. Since the release of QC, I have given up playing games entirely. This new-found free time, together with me switching from full time to part time, allows me to dedicate myself to guitar, with the eventual objective of making a living from music. Thanks Tim!

Are you self-taught or have you taken formal classes on editing?
I'm self-taught, thankfully there is an infinity of tutorials on YouTube for all kinds of video editing software, although the same can't be said for Wolfcam.

What software do you use?
I do basically everything in WolfcamQL and Adobe Premiere, with some minor things done in Adobe Photoshop here and there.

When starting a project, what is your approach like? Do you have a specific workflow?
I've only made 3 movies, but they have all followed this process, so I guess it qualifies as a workflow:

For me, the backbone of a fragmovie is the soundtrack. I listen to a lot of music, and a potential project starts when I'm listening to a song which, after the first or second listen, suddenly makes me think "hmm... this would fit well in a fragmovie". After a few more listens, if I can really see the song working, very occasionally the obsession will grow and gradually evolve into "a fragmovie with this song needs to be made". The seed has been planted: This, for me, is the point of no return. The movie will be made, it's just a matter of time. At this point I have also already decided what the overall theme will be and which specific maps I want to include or exclude.

I will stay in this status for months, periodically giving the project some thought by listening to the song(s) some more and trying to visualize how the movie would play out against the soundtrack, matching in my head the beat of each section with certain types of frags which I think would suit it best, determining which parts would be suitable for slow-motion or freecam, which parts of the song would need to be cut out or repeated to improve the flow, figuring out where to fit in the intro or outro, but most importantly, trying to remember specifically which of my own frags would actually fit in. Since I cba working with or depending on other people, and since I'm a bit egocentric and want the movies to be, in part, a monument to my years in the arena, all my movies consist entirely of my own frags. This has its disadvantages though...

Once it's clear to me how the movie will play out more or less, I start working on setting up the soundtrack in Adobe Premiere, cutting and pasting and crossfading and tweaking, and leave this "foundation" all set for the frags to be built on top. Once that's sorted I'll play through it a few times and write down in notepad what needs to happen at each timestamp in the movie as I envisioned it, so I can get a good idea of exactly how many frags of each type I will need. At this point I might also set up where all the intro/outro and credit sections will go, since this gives the project some much needed visual structure in Adobe Premiere's timeline window. It's a lot easier to handle the mountain climb ahead if you can see the path divided into sections.

At around about here is where I start to make sure the config looks just how I want it. This is defintely one of the more enjoyable and creative parts of the entire process, due to the simple fact that the wolfcam is incredibly versatile and the idtech3 engine is still absolutely gorgeous, 20 years on, letting the creativity come gushing out, in big, thick, warm spurts. Also, thanks to Brugal's extremely detailed Wolfcam readme and KittenIgnition's encyclopaedic Wolfcam knowledge, any obstacles are soon overcome.

Up to here, it's all been relatively piss easy. Now begins the process of cutting the demos... but first, I have to find them.

Unlike some more organized folk, my method of "frag collecting" is, once the match has finished, if I remember, I will copy the demo into a specifc folder and add some useless adjectives to the name without any timestamp, ie: TDM-huehuehuehue-purgatory-2016-04-29-brutal-rocket-vs-drki-near-mega.dm_91, leaving the future me to figure that shit out for himself. Sometimes if I can't even remember what happened during the match or if there were a several good moments worth checking out, I'll just copy the demo as is, so my future self doesn't even know what the fuck he's even supposed to be looking out for. And so, under these circumstances, I will trawl through dozens upon dozens of demos, searching for these supposedly worthwhile frags which my former self thought were oh-so-brutal. Fortunately, Wolfcam makes this process less suicidal than it sounds, with fastforwarding, rewinding and cutting being very easy and customizable, however it's still several day's worth of mind-numbing epilepsy.

Hurray, I've cut 150 frags, half of which I saved just to be on the safe side because now I'm not so confident anymore in my original timestamped script. Oh great, after working up the courage to start dragging frags into Adobe Premiere I realize the tempo of the weapons in my head was way off and it doesn't really sync like I imagine it would at all. Oh gee wizz, this incredibly beautiful slowmo scene is suddenly ruined by keel deciding to start jerking his stupid legs from side to side what a spastic fucking robot. Oh, well fuck me, that amazing air-rocket I recall doing that was going to be the centerpiece of this entire segment, turns out I actually kill half my team immediately afterwards. Why doesn't this frag look right, what the fuck is going on here, why is that player... what, why does the texture do that? what the fuck? how come... but... jesus christ this frag is shit. Ah awesome, apparently Adobe Premiere has some creative differences so ye just gonna pull some THIS PROGRAM HAS STOPPED WORKING bullshit and what do you know I forgot to save the last autosave was only fucking 55 MINUTES AGO it's ok it's ok just do it again, there we go. Don't lose track, keep focus, you're doing good man. Go to sleep. Wake up. No you're not doing good this movie is shit how the fuck does wntt make it look so nice why is this SHIT looking nothing like wntt's stuff what the actual fuck this doesn't even sync at all was I high last night I don't remember getting high. Fuck it just get it finished, tired of this. Must soldier on, gotta hurry too, I bet there's some other moviemaker just about to release a movie tomorrow using this exact song that would be a fucking DISASTER what if my laptop breaks what if some burglars take the fucking laptop jesus christ what if I die and this is unfinished on my laptop and my family wont even know the password never mind how to use wolfcam I gotta get this shit finished by Friday.

[2 weeks later]


What has inspired you in your work? Are there specific movies or moviemakers that changed the way you approach your own work?
I think the only specific moviemaker that had any significant influence on me was wntt, specifically his work in Chasing Dragons. He is the true master of using scenes to accompany the music, sometimes in a very subtle way. I tried to replicate this in Hero, and although I didn't even come close to his level of execution, I'm happy with how some of the scenes turned out. Other than that I've always just tried to do my own thing, with any influences being drawn from outside the world of fragmovies or gaming.

With King of Fire I was trying to invoke gladiator themes and the associated mythology of the ancient and classical world. With Imperator I wanted it to feel like Hell, inspired directly by Bolzer's album cover, and with Hero I just wanted to combine elements from both movies, together with some heavy "300" aesthetics.

Which of your own projects are you most proud of? Which do you think were most instrumental in your development as a moviemaker?
I think Imperator is my best movie. It's not too long, not too fancy. The song is absolutely amazing, the pace, tempo and timing of the interlude are just perfect. The quad run, the final frag, the credits, the winz bs pummel all just fall into place beautifully. One thing that is always in the back of my mind when I'm making a movie is ensuring that someone who never touched Quake before can still get a feel for it, and I think Imperator perfectly captured the raw intensity and gritty, visceral brutality that Quake in all its glory has to offer.

As for most instrumental, probably Hero, since this was the movie I dedicated more time, effort, planning and production to, as well as using it to learn some more advanced Adobe Premiere techniques.

There is a range of game movies in terms of editing styles and structure. Some you could call some "old school" (minimal editing) and then there are very elaborate projects with significant amounts of editing. Where do you think your movies fall? In your opinion, is there an ideal balance between editing and content?
My movies definitely fall in the minimal side of things when you take into account just what some of the great moviemakers have been able to achieve in terms of editing, and all the different tools and techniques that are available to them. The ideal balance depends entirely on how well it is executed. Sometimes a single frame is the difference between something feeling fluid and natural, and something feeling just plain wrong. A master moviemaker will make 100 different scenes and 30 different effects blend together seamlessly without detracting from the flow of the movie, while an amateur doing the same thing will produce something unwatchable. That said, I think a movie like Chasing Dragons is at the upper threshold of what I would consider an appropriate amount of editing.

What do you think the future holds for game movies? Are there new styles/techniques possible?
My experience with fragmovies has been isolated pretty much entirely to Q3 and QL, so I'll stick to that.

These games perpetuate the sacred bloodline that is idtech3, the holy DNA that was crafted by our lord and saviour John Carmack's own hands, but I doubt that even He would have envisioned, at the time, that so many years later such awesome and beautiful tools and movies would have evolved thanks to His work, notably the inherent quality of His engine to be absolutely customized and modified in virtually all aspects. This of course, would not have happened without the amazing Quake community, inevitably putting that freedom to great use and opening up each iteration of Quake to it's fullest potential. Except that is, with QC... where due to a lethal mix of incompetence and procrastination, id software would rather jump on the bandwagon than be the pioneers anymore. They are no longer the ones who set the industry standards, the likes of Blizzard are, and if games like Overwatch don't provide a level of freedom and customization that allows for your average player to make a movie of Q3's caliber, then QC won't either. This means that QC is a dead end for fragmovies (and mapping, and modding), and they don't give a shit. Still, no biggie, it's not even Quake anyway \:D/

As for new styles/techniques, I think it's definitely possible, but the human brain is wired to like things presented in certain ways, so it will become increasingly harder to find something new that we can digest easily.

What advice do you have for new moviemakers?
Don't do it, it takes up too much time and drains too much energy.

Any last comments/shoutouts?
Kinda got carried away typing here, if you got this far, well done. Thanks to all great quakers for making a great community, thanks to Tim, Adam and Sponge for curing my addiction, and thanks to Baksteen for encouraging me to get into guitar years ago, and thanks to lolo for the interview. Also, check out the WolfcamQL discord!
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