The lighting choices of Netflix’s Russian Doll

I’m about to finish Netflix’s Russian Doll and before I do I wanted to share something really fun that I observed in every episode. You will not be able to unsee this. I’m trying to keep this as spoiler-free as possible so the descriptions are vague.

I noticed throughout the episodes that Nadia’s character is usually bathed in a wash of red light or the space behind her is glowing red. Many times in cinematography this is used to signify ‘bad’, ‘evil’ or ‘hell’. Most other main characters in the story will be bathed in blue or green light – is this ‘good’?. And in other select scenes, yellow or daylight (if you watch the show you can make an assumption here what this might be). Have a look at these scenes I have captured in sequence in the first 7 episodes.

The first time we see Nadia outside and she is bathed in red

The homeless guy across the street bathed in a green light
John with a blue/green light behind him, Nadia backlit in red
The homeless guy is now in red
Nadia’s wardrobe consists of red and black
The homeless guy and Nadia are both bathed in red here
We see Nadia walk through a red hallway and into this blue room
Nadia in red
Nadia and homeless guy in a ‘neutral’ yellow light
Alan and Nadia in an elevator lit red as it drops (to hell?)
Alan lives in a very cool, white lit apartment
We see a piece of red artwork in the center. Does this represent a conflict?
We see Alan surrounded by some red lamps
Lizzy who appears to be one of the most innocent characters is seen here bathed in blue
Nadia with a red light
Although in the same room Alan appears with ‘his’ white light
Alan in front of a green neon sign comes in to confront Mike
Alan nows appears on red as his anger boils
This is perhaps the most striking example of Alan and Nadia side-by-side
Finally we have the blue door which Natasha must pass through in every ‘cycle’

SMS Controlled Bots LIVE

What happens when you let anyone in the world control robots with their phones? Well I wanted to find out so I teamed up with my friends at Twilio to find out. We ended up with these two robotic arms programmed to respond to the following SMS commands: forward,left,right,back,down,up

If a viewer texted one of these commands to the number corresponding to the bot then the bot would move a step in that direction. We mounted small 3D cut circular blades to the bots “hands” so they could pop the balloons. And it worked!

Check out the full recorded Facebook Live feed here

Special thanks to Mark Kleback for the programming.

Some behind the scenes pics below.

Although you can see the Sony FS7 set up here the actual live ended up on a Canon C100.

The first viral video


Where were you the first time someone sent you a link to something and said, “you have to watch this!”? Of  course you clicked it, because you trust your friend’s taste and want to share in the excitement with them. You watched it and liked what you saw so much you sent it to two other friends. What was that video? Where were you? Why did you share it?

Before YouTube existed I made a lot of silly videos with my friends. We didn’t have anywhere to post them so I uploaded a video file to a server and sent an email to colleagues at work who then sent it to a few more colleagues. It didn’t go much past that point (Those videos are out there, you can easily find them yourself 😉 ).

One of the first videos I remember people at the office sharing around on something called YouTube was a video of two Chinese guys sitting in their dorm room lip-syncing to The Backstreet Boys’ hit “I Want it That Way”.  You have to watch this!

(This doesn’t appear to be the original 2005 upload. I have no idea where that is)

What was YOUR first viral video experience?

Here is my own first “viral” video. It was featured on the then hand-curated front page of YouTube in 2006 (somewhere I have a screenshot). This page slowly cycled through hand-picked staff favorites throughout the week. I think my video was up there for a few days. Back then a video like this one with 60k+ views was considered “Viral”!

“Trainwreck” (starring my roommate Chris).
Music: Theme to “Magnum P.I.”
Shot on a Sony Mini-DV



Hamster Wars – Star Wars With Hamsters


obi wan hamster from hamster wars by keith hopkin
It’s that time of year again for another Star Wars feature. But before watching Rogue One in theaters catch up and see where it all began in this hamsterized version of Episode IV: A New Hope. Starring the amazing hamsters of the Westchester Rescued Hamster Haven. Enjoy!

Hamster Wars

Video by Keith Hopkin & Laura Vitto
VFX by Loris Ravera & Peter Carlson
Music by Tommi Kelly
Additional Illustrations by Bob Al-Greene

Hamster Skywalker from Hamster Wars by Keith Hopkin

The force is strong in this one