The Langille Show: behind the scenes

Brian Langille filming and episode of The Langille Show. Conway photo

A man answers the door on Halloween. He is greeted by children in their costumes.

“Trick or Treat,” they yell with glee as they expect their sugary treats. The man choses trick.

He morphs into a horrific monster. The children flee in terror. This 30-second clip took  three hours of careful editing.

It was the opening of episode 189 of The Langille Show. It is the Youtube show created and hosted by Holland College’s resident Mac technician, Brian Langille. The episode, Sweet, Sweet Candy, serves as the show’s Halloween special.

A lot of work went into the making of the show’s introduction. In fact, it takes a considerable level of technical skill to make his face so terrifying.

Langille shot the original footage and took it back to his computer, where he began the editing process.

“I cut to the piece where I wanted to make my face to expand, export that, put in some after-effects and motion track it. Once I have it motion tracked, I can apply things to my face and make them move with my face. “

Then he was able to shrink his eyes and nose and puff up his face and everything else, he said.

“Once I get that done and rendered, I test and apply a couple more things. I changed the tone of my skin colour and I imported the sound and everything else.

“That is what gave me the demon effect. It’s fun to do something like that.”

Langille filmed the episode during his lunch break on Oct. 28 in his front yard. It was a beautiful autumn day in his quiet suburban neighbourhood. He couldn’t have asked for a better day to film.

In the driveway was the infamous van blown up in many an opening sequence. You’d expect it be in several pieces scattered across the lawn rather than parked in one piece. Perhaps he has a secret stock pile of vans somewhere?

Before the actual filming began, Langille went to his basement to gather some equipment. His version of the bat cave contains the technology that makes filming The Langille Show possible.

There were two 2,000-watt lights and a green screen used for indoor filiming, his microphone, camera and computer.

Langille grabbed his microphone, camera and tripod and headed out the door, but before that he had to make sure he was wearing his trademark glasses, hat and jersey.

“When I’m putting on the gear, it makes me feel like Clark Kent turning into Superman.”

Before turning on the camera, he noticed someone looking as they drove down the road. It happened before.

“There are times when people who are driving by will slow down to check out what I’m doing. I remember I got some strange looks from the neighbours the time I filmed the episode where I shaved my head.”

As soon as he had his camera adjusted to get the perfect shot, he began recording. He started things off with his trademark, “Hey!”

It echoed throughout the neighbourhood as he started his opening monologue. He let a little blopper slip out as he remembered he wanted to tell a joke about a tree but there was no tree in the shot.

He was able to improvise with a joke about the Toronto Maple Leafs and all was well.

The episode revolved around an incident which occurred on Halloween a few years back. He was in charge of passing out the candy, but instead ate the candy himself.

The shoot took about 11 minutes and besides a few pauses and bloopers all went smoothly.

There was one thing that seemed odd. There were a few moments when he would pace from one spot to another. The reason would be revealed during his editing process.

One of Langille’s biggest fans is his wife, Susan. He does some great work on the show, she said

“He puts a lot of hard work into every show and it really pays off.”

She usually doesn’t get to see any of the tapings since they are done when she is at work. But she is occasionally exposed to some content unseen by viewers.

“Whenever I happen to be at home when he is filming, I get to hear some of the outtakes. I get a good chuckle out of them.”

She has nothing but good things to say about her husband’s show.

“I think it is amazing. He makes it look so easy to do. He taught himself how to do it.”

After Langille completed filming the episode, he headed back to the basement to begin editing.

He took the opening segment and attaching it to the nine minutes of video he had just finished filming. After that, it was a matter of trimming the new footage and cutting anything he didn’t want to use.

He cut the jokes he doesn’t plan on using to get straight to the punchline.

He does this to take the over 10 minutes worth of footage and convert it to about three or four.

“Sometimes I realize that not every joke needs to be in there.”

Langille also revealed the reason why he was moving around so many times during the taping.

It is to compensate for not having a director to zoom the camera in and out. He also said he makes sure the time it takes him to move is taken out of the video.

“I also have to make sure to cut out as much dead time as possible, so that I am constantly in different spots on the screen and that there is no down time as far as silence goes.”

This process used to take hours, now it takes about 20 minutes.

“I got better over time and learned what material I want to keep or remove from  a video.  It comes with practice.”

After he completed the video it is just a matter of fading to black and inserting the final punch line.

“I guess this takes away a lot of the mystique.”


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