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NASA Parodies Reach New Level of Awkwardness

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the go-back-to-film-school dept.


MMBK writes "NASA TV recently produced six movie-trailer parodies about current projects for a 'themed exhibit at an international conference.' But for the most part, the attempt remains pretty corny, far, far away from the imaginative, inspiring work of space artists like Bruce McCall."

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Sure, Give NASA a Shoestring Budget and Then Laugh (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 4 years ago | (#34025012)

I didn't think the videos were that terrible but maybe it's because I've had to sit through corporate sexual harassment videos that made my sides split.

Anyway, what do you expect? Our elected officials cut NASA's budget and then you expect them to come out with award winning promotional materials? I'm glad marketing and publicity are the first things to get cut and not, you know, the actual James Webb Space Telescope.

Personally, if I was NASA, I would have just commissioned Apple Daily to make the videos for me. I actually started preferring their news style to Fox News and CNN [] despite my inability to understand Chinese. I don't know if Adult Swim commissions them or if they're just rebranding Next Media's productions but they sure are hilarious [] . I'm probably not your average consumer but seeing the first of those videos on Adult Swim just made me want to see more. NASA should have just invited their reporters out with no translators and let them make the promotional videos as a poignant stunt to remind the public how little taxpayer funding they're getting these days [] . Here's to hoping private industry picks up the slack otherwise we're never getting off this rock.

Re:Sure, Give NASA a Shoestring Budget and Then La (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 4 years ago | (#34025302)

    So you were forced to watch this [] and this []

Re:Sure, Give NASA a Shoestring Budget and Then La (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 years ago | (#34025568)

I was thinking more along the lines of this: []

Hey, at least they get something up in the air . . .

Now, if Estes brings out a NASA PowerPC Mars lander . . . I'm buying!

Re:Sure, Give NASA a Shoestring Budget and Then La (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 4 years ago | (#34025838)

    Well, I've been planning something slowly with a few people. Unfortunately, we have lots of brainpower, but not a lot of capital. A bit better more comfortable than a Saturn V, a bit more stylish than a Soyuz. :)

Re:Sure, Give NASA a Shoestring Budget and Then La (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34025934)

And less space than a nomad.

Re:Sure, Give NASA a Shoestring Budget and Then La (2, Interesting)

openfrog (897716) | about 4 years ago | (#34025416)

Eldavojohn, I agree with you: the videos are not that terrible.

I would add that the first one is about the first humanoid robot in space, to be launched soon. If this proves popular, this may help to direct funds to more scientifically oriented missions, instead of this obsession with sending people in space.

This is a touchy topic of course; that might explain the rather slanted tone of the story. Oh, and I checked McCall's work. A bit too corny for me, except the poster he did for 2001 Space Odyssee.

Bob, not Bruce (1)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 4 years ago | (#34027128)

The summary has an error: Bob McCall [] is the space artist, Bruce McCall [] is a humorous illustrator and writer.

Re:Sure, Give NASA a Shoestring Budget and Then La (1)

MindCrusher (1249502) | about 4 years ago | (#34028026)

It depends on where these videos are shown. Recently I attended the IAC2010 in Prague and NASA's exhibition area was a just cinema theater with poster of these movies. They were also serving popcorn for free. I saw no actual data on the current or future missions. Considering the congress is a more technical one I don't think the pop science approach was very successful.

Re:Sure, Give NASA a Shoestring Budget and Then La (0)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 years ago | (#34026152)

Our elected officials cut NASA's budget..

No they didn't. [] Yet so many people think they did. It's odd.

Re:Sure, Give NASA a Shoestring Budget and Then La (2, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | about 4 years ago | (#34027304)

Our elected officials cut NASA's budget..

No they didn't. Yet so many people think they did. It's odd.

You're not very good at government budget speak. When a given agency's budget is increased by:
1. less that it was in a prior year
3. less than promised for this year from several years ago
4. less than what its administrators want
5. less than some other agency's increase
The budget was slashed! Oh noes!

Re:Sure, Give NASA a Shoestring Budget and Then La (1)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 3 years ago | (#34180286)

No they didn't. Yet so many people think they did. It's odd.

Yes, they did.

Linking to a web-page that has no numbers newer than 2007 (and the latest "news" on which talk about a preliminary plan outlined in February) isn't goingto make reality go away.

Re:Sure, Give NASA a Shoestring Budget and Then La (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34030360)

Fox News is for the retarded, hence why it is huge in the US

It's not hilarious but (1)

sseaman (931799) | about 4 years ago | (#34025280)

It's kinda cute and I learned something. At least I think I did. Is that robot for real or what? Now I'm confused.

The problem with parodies (and this isn't really a parody - it's not mocking anything) is that it's hard to know what to take seriously.

Re:It's not hilarious but (2, Informative)

Coren22 (1625475) | about 4 years ago | (#34025406)

Yes, that robot is currently on the ISS. []
I didn't see any articles that talk about after it was brought up though.

"But for the most part, the attempt remains..." (1)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#34025330)

So then DON'T post it on the frontpage! My life is boring enough thank you very much.

Hmph ... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#34025336)

Am I the only ones who think they should have hired the people from Futurama to do this? I also think Prof Farnsworth would have been a far better narrator.

Re:Hmph ... (1)

Byzantine (85549) | about 4 years ago | (#34025502)

"Good news, everyone! Due to budget cutbacks, I've hired a new, expendable crew—made entirely of robots!"

clearly..... (1)

yoblin (692322) | about 4 years ago | (#34025388)

... they need the new version of iMovie (

An uninspired effort from NASA?!?!? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 4 years ago | (#34025842)

The hell you say!

Ouch! (1)

jfbilodeau (931293) | about 4 years ago | (#34026022)

It's rare that I'll say this, but these are painful to watch and I wish I had not wasted six minutes of my life watching those.

iMovie '11 (1)

dasdrewid (653176) | about 4 years ago | (#34026316)

I hate to say it, but they really shoulda just waited a few weeks and done this in iMovie '11 with that trailer creation thing they spent an hour discussing.

That, or like someone said earlier, just contract them out to Futurama... The Simpsons shill for Butterfinger, why can't Futurama for NASA?

NASA should video all (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 4 years ago | (#34026908)

from the good, the bad, and the marginal with obvious exceptions of classified material. There is lots of techie stuff that video guys can take and post on NASA-TV (ya know the good "streaming" video that is broadcast quality like you get from ENG cameras). Techie stuff? Things that go on at test labs, facilities, maintenance guys fixing stuff, scientists dabbling with chemicals, engineers struggling with laser flowviz techniques, etc. But don't bother to make it pristine, at least white balance the camera.

OK so some people will bitch it is boring, there's no sexy chicks, no bombastic hosts,... but then NASA does work not entertainment.

How many of you techie types got such interests? It probably began when you saw something techie and thought, "that's cool! where can I get me one of those?!?! (I guess I'll have to learn how to build it)." It might be very inspirational for children. However, I heard NASA employees (civil servants) cannot videotape minors unless they get permission from parents (which squelches things like county fairs) but it is ok for contractors.

I probably deviated from original story of this post and (like 99% of commenters) didn't RTFA.

intentional (2, Informative)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 4 years ago | (#34026976)

Why is nobody considering the possibility that the videos are intentionally campy? I thought they were a little fun for exactly that reason...

Re:intentional (1)

CXI (46706) | about 4 years ago | (#34036002)

I know who produced them and "campy" is his middle name. Well, ok I'll admit that that particular name is just an alias but I can't tell you his *real* name or he'd try to sell you copies of the promos on DVD.

Scene transitions (1)

whereiswaldo (459052) | about 4 years ago | (#34028410)

The bright white flash style of screen transition should be used sparingly. The first video makes copious use of it and it's very distracting.
Scrubbing through a couple other videos, it looks pieced together by an amateur with no scene seemingly longer than 5 or 10 seconds.

Possibly better off as a slideshow.

The way it's supposed to be (1)

macshome (818789) | about 4 years ago | (#34035944)

With the campy voiceover, gratuitous transitions, and fake movie credits at the end I'm pretty sure this came out exactly like they wanted it. NASA was making some funny movies about their projects to show to their peers at a conference.

They're rocket scientists, not cinematographers, so cut some slack on the production values.
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