I've been making videos on my channel (http://www.youtube.com/CaptainDisillusion) since 2007. They've crawled up to the Reddit front page a couple of times (thanks!). Recently, Patreon has made it possible for me to turn the production of Captain D into a full-time job. Just barely.

I like filmmaking, visual effects, animation, science and skepticism. And challenging as it is, I love making the series monthly. Sometimes I get things a little wrong, and sometimes I'm not funny in the way I intended to be, but I always learn as a result. I'd like to continue making the show bigger and better, faster and hotter.

If you want to help out or are interested in getting a behind-the-scenes peek at the process, consider patronizing here: http://www.patreon.com/CaptainDisillusion

Also, someone has made a Captain D subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/CaptainDisillusion/

I don't run it, but check it once in a while. Could be a good place to submit potential videos for me to examine in future episodes!

My totally not-photoshopped proof: https://twitter.com/CDisillusion/status/881705776905105408

EDIT: Thank you for the cool questions! You made me think about myself more than I'm normally comfortable with. But now I'm afraid it's time for me to go, Reddit. A reply thread under a political Tweet is only 3 posts away from creating a logical fallacy singularity. Remember: love with your heart; use your head for everything else... CAPTAIN D I S I L L U S I O N!

Comments: 2524 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

Saamsonite3132 karma

Have you been "threatened" by any producers etc for any of your work?

Captain-Disillusion4299 karma

Never. Not yet, anyway. I like to think most people who make stuff for public consumption understand that it may be praised, criticized or adopted into other derivative creative works. I try to be fair, good-humored and inventive about the way I present the subject in a video. It's as much an expression of admiration as it is a "debunk".

BuiltTheSkyForMyDawn3123 karma

What started the idea of your... Get-up? The yellow jacket, sweatpants and silver makeup ?

Also, thanks for one of the greatest lines in YouTube history:

Give me black my son!

Captain-Disillusion3607 karma

I literally just picked random items I had laying around. I got the silver makeup prior to that, not knowing how I would use it. I think I found it was too complicated to make all of me silver so just settled on the bottom half of face. I tries to make a perfect black separation line, but it came out messy, so I added some dripping streaks to hide it.

cabooseblueteam2761 karma

Love your content! I absolutely adore all the details in your videos, so my question is which subtle visual effect in one of your videos was the most complicated?

Captain-Disillusion5828 karma

This is a great question and I really wish I could remember the answer because whenever I'm working on the effects, I'm thinking "this is the hardest thing I've ever had to devise and no one will even notice this part". At the moment, all I remember is in the most recent video, when I talk about the trick with the color-changing ukulele, I needed to actually change its color. But I couldn't do it via color-correction because the YouTube video was way too compressed to do it cleanly. So I ended up hand-rotoscoping the ukulele and EACH STRING throughout the shot. What am I doing with my life?

Maxiscoolerthanyou1921 karma

Any updates on the Cicrit Bracelet?

Captain-Disillusion3644 karma



What video were you surprised to learn was actually real?

Captain-Disillusion4187 karma

Most recently, that water slide clip where the guy zooms all the way to the edge of the pool and steps out. That looked so crazy, I studied it in every way I could think of and couldn't find anything substantially suspicious. Then someone posted a different video of a different person doing the exact same stunt from a slightly different angle. Now I kinda want to go to that resort in Jamaica and try it myself.... WAIT A MINUTE. I'VE BEEN PLAYED!

soulruler1288 karma


Have you ever thought of re-uploading some of your older videos? I've gone through them all and they're great but it's painful nowadays to watch a 240p video on a 4K screen. Do you have the original files in higher quality?

Captain-Disillusion1841 karma

The earliest, awkwardest videos were shot in SD and exist in only slightly higher quality than what's on YouTube. I feel it wouldn't be much of an improvement to re-upload them. But a few years ago, I put them on a DVD that you can get on m'website... (not trying to push merch)

RancidLemons1229 karma


To get my gushing out of the way, I'm a huge fan and have been for a little over a year. I plan on showing my daughter your videos when she's a bit older as an introduction to skepticism. You have some seriously incredible content, thank you for producing it!

I have a few questions.

-What do you immediately look for that makes a video suspicious?

-What are some YouTubers you enjoy watching?

-Any plans to work with James Randi again?

-Finally, and absolutely most crucially, what exactly did Captain say to poor Alan in that Skype call at the start of "Amazing Feats of YouTube Debunkery?"

Captain-Disillusion1412 karma

Thank you!

  • It really depends on the nature of the video. Sometimes it's nothing image-based, but more of a "is this physically possible" and then I go from there. Other times, I recognize the effect preset on the first viewing.

-I just took a stab at answering that somewhere above

-I'd love to work with James Randi again. I do not meet him often. Whenever I do, I always assume he won't remember me, but he raises his hand in a mock salute and says, "Captain."

-I'm afraid it's too vulgar for the Internet.

XelaIsPwn916 karma

Do you have any other favorite Skeptic YouTube channels? Anyone in particular you admire or look up to (skeptic or otherwise)?

Captain-Disillusion1525 karma

This makes me feel like I'm having to list thank-yous in an Oscar speech in 30 secs. I... er.. I mean, Vsause of course, I enjoy the various Brady Haran-produced science serieseseses. Skeptics' Guide are consistently great. George Hrab is not often active on YouTube but I listen to his podcast every week. I like Julia Galef's YouTube videos because they make me feel intellectually minuscule in 3-5 min chunks. There are quite a few others - I'll have to get back to this when I think of them!

an0nym0ose811 karma

Hey Cap! How did you get started doing what you do? I saw the video about your early film projects and now I'm curious as to how you migrated towards Youtube as a content platform.

Also, I'm curious as to the origin of your sign-off phrase "love with your heart; use your head for everything else." Did you come up with that, or did you get it from somewhere else?

Love your stuff; keep it coming!

Captain-Disillusion1164 karma

I always liked filmmaking. In high school I was in a TV production class. In college I majored in film production. I made a few short films throughout that time and then went on to work in various freelance capacities - filming, editing, doing effects on - small and slightly less small. YouTube seemed like a fun way to be creative so I tried it. But I continued to work as a freelancer for years.

As far as I know, I made up the catchphrase. The script of the very first episode was originally a sarcastic blog post on MySpace and that's how I ended the post. It just kind of popped into my head.

lemaymayguy562 karma

Just wanted to say, I saw your video on a post yesterday and instantly went through tens of videos of yours. I love your content and it's easily the best OC I've seen on youtube. I love how educational it is and your sense of humor. I'm flabbergasted by how much I didn't know on all those viral videos I see shared. You have a fan for life Captain

Did you learn all of your film tricks in your now non existent school or did you learn your skills afterwards? Any professional experience or all self taught?

Captain-Disillusion412 karma

Thanks! Film school was good for learning the teamwork aspect of making movies/videos. But I would say most of the skills I use for Captain Disillusion I learned subsequently over the years. I have worked as a freelance camera operator, editor and visual effects artist.

emilymarie38456 karma

Hey Captain D! Big fan of your work, I'm actually in the middle of another marathon of your videos lol.

My question is: What made you decide to create your Captain Disillusion videos?

I know its been acknowledged in the video comments before that its really impressive how complete the Captain Disillusion character and layout seemed from the very first video. While you have added to the background of the character and more story elements, most of your show details have been there since the beginning.

Thanks for your time! :)

Captain-Disillusion587 karma

Thanks. I think it might just be my own stubborn unwillingness to change things :) I picked an outfit and a corner of a room and I kept filming it until the audience relented and started saying to themselves, "Ok, maybe there's something to this. Otherwise, this guy is just crazy."

jackofallspades98391 karma

Hey Captain! I've been a huge fan for a while, I've watched every one of your videos, many of which more than once. There are many people who believe that your channel would be even more popular if you abandoned the Captain D character, but left literally every other aspect of your videos exactly the same. They feel like the facepaint is a little strange, that it might be a little off-putting for new viewers, and it can be harder to get people addicted to your videos. Personally, I've gotten past the initial weirdness of it and I've fully embraced the character. I would never suggest that a creator change their content to maximize views, subscribers, etc., nor should you if you don't want to. But I think these opinions might actually be accurate, even if it's something you'd never consider doing. So, my question is: What would you say to someone who thinks that abandoning the character would be better for your channel? Do you agree with that assessment? Would you ever even consider doing that?

Captain-Disillusion1128 karma

Thanks! I don't know the answer to this. I made up the format and the crazy look both to stand out on YouTube, but ALSO because it jolts me into being creative and interesting and feeling like I know what I'm doing. There are many YouTube channels (and YouTube EMPIRES) I like where charming people casually chat on camera about interesting stuff. And that's great! But I don't think I don't think I'm capable of doing that genre well myself. If anything, I'm more interested in taking the series in a more stylized direction of having other whimsical characters and space adventures. I might never make it into the top 10 most popular channels of all time, but I'll thoroughly enjoy myself.

Retlaw83337 karma

I've been a long time watcher, so of course I'm naturally skeptic of what I see on camera. That being said, are you made of flesh and encase your lower face in metal, or are you made of metal and cover the top half of your head in flesh?

Captain-Disillusion535 karma

Tsk tsk... This was pointedly addressed in two different videos... you must watch even more!

Patches67326 karma

What is the greatest thing you wanted to debunk SO badly that it genuinely made you upset?

Captain-Disillusion598 karma

I don't tackle world-changing issues so I kind of look at it more from a fun angle and don't get too hung up on "spreading the truth". I think of it more as puzzle solving and try to enjoy the process. I do recall getting very excited while working on the Miss Ping episode. I just had such fun details to explain!

michaelikarasik268 karma

Hi Captain D, thanks for doing this!

I've always wanted to ask you this question but never got the chance, about how many hours do you spend on each part of making a video?

Captain-Disillusion578 karma

I spend an embarrassingly long amount of time just researching and writing the script of a video - sometimes nearly 2 weeks. Filming usually takes half a day, sometimes a full day, occasionally a couple of days. Editing, effects and sound design take every last second of whatever time remains in the month after all of the above.

Orzufancylad266 karma

Do you ever get disillusioned (ha!) that no matter how many times you go over a topic, people seem to ask the same questions and are tricked by the same tricks over and over again?

Captain-Disillusion441 karma

Yeah, sometimes. But it's usually easy enough just post a link to an existing video. What frustrates me sometimes is how the more detail I explain about something, the more things people point out that I didn't mention (even if it was a purposeful editorial choice). It's like, "the debunk of the gaps."

besirk243 karma

How do you feel that given you've been doing this for years, that people just recently started to start recognize your work?

Captain-Disillusion532 karma

OUTSIDERS! HISSSSSS! No, it's great, of course. I'm really happy about it and I hope it continues. It inspires me to make better stuff.

ifauve224 karma

Hi, Captain! Two things:

  1. who's that Alan guy who gave your presentation in your place at QED? He looks a lot like a more awkward and more pink-skinned version of you. Is he an awkward person generally or was that just a bit of stage fright? And if yes, is his awkwardness part of the reason why the show is hosted by a chrome-faced hero?

  2. I see that you're a Patreon supporter of RedLetterMedia. I think they have quite a bit in common with you, aside from the snark: you're both independent creators who have found a niche audience who admires and shares your passion. Some people (like me) see this kind of content as the future of entertainment, just because the traditional gatekeepers (TV, mostly) can't keep up with the demands of its audience. Do you feel the same way? In other words, do you think that independent online content is "the future", so to speak? And related to that: does the way you see your position in "the grand scheme of things" of entertainment affect your creative decision-making process?

Captain-Disillusion315 karma

  1. The nervousness was an act, but I am informed daily that I did it TOO well and for too long. In my next presentation, either I or Alan are going to impersonate the the Fonze.

  2. I think RLM are brilliant and the original Mr. Plinkett Star Wars reviews changed the way long-form movie reviews are done online.

I think traditional television and the best of web series are converging somewhere in the middle to form the future of entertainment. And it's called Netflix.

When I make my videos, I tend to put them through a mental checklist, something like:

• Do I like this? • Will an average YouTube viewer be able to tolerate this all the way to the end? • Is this going to be in any way relevant a week/month/year from now? • Does this meet TV broadcast technical standards?

And I do my best to check all the boxes.

rtjy222 karma

Any funny behind the scenes stories?

Captain-Disillusion534 karma

Most of the time it's just me trying to get a cohesive sentence out over the course of 12 takes, so the atmosphere is pretty boring. But the times when I have guests is really fun. Paul Zaloom (Beakman) kept making us laugh throughout the day. Erica Linz, the Cirque acrobat actually demonstrated the stunt she refuses to do in the episode, as a bonus video for us. When I film with Lauren, who plays Holly, it's just a non-stop litany of bickering and making fun of each other's performance.

TheOsttle182 karma

Do you ever plan on doing more story based content? You're a really funny guy and I think the "Undebunkable" is one of my favorite episodes. I feel like you could write/direct something really clever.

Captain-Disillusion230 karma

Thank you and yes, I am interested in doing this very thing. I enjoy explaining stuff, but I also love telling stories. I feel like my content is 70% former, 30% latter. I'd like to bring it closer to 50/50.

TheyveTakenMyWheezy169 karma

Your channel is spectacular. In our click-bait age, your videos aren't just entertaining, they are important!

That said, your channel is slow growing. Numbers are not the most important thing in the world, however you provide quality content deserving of a larger audience.

My question is, what are your thoughts and feelings regarding other channels that have little to no talent and yet have far larger subscriber counts and video views? Again, I know numbers are not important, but from a personal view on the issue, it's gotta be aggravating right?

Captain-Disillusion258 karma

I think it's all fine. We're not fighting for airtime. The existence of clickbaity channels doesn't affect my ability to post things and have them seen and the fact that they exist and are successful means people want to see them. There's plenty I could learn from the daily-posting channels in terms of marketing and audience engagement. But I also want to feel good about what I'm making and hope that it has longterm entertainment value.

person_bot129 karma

What first made you interested in debunking stuff? How long have you been involved in the skeptic community?

Captain-Disillusion398 karma

I enjoyed making-of programs and science shows like Beakman's World and Bill Nye the Science Guy as a kid. Later I enjoyed shows like Penn & Teller's Bullshit. I think I started looking up some of the people featured on that online, including James Randi. When I was figuring out what to do on YouTube, I thought a skeptical approach with a dash of sarcasm would be fun. Then one day James Randi CALLED ME ON THE PHONE and said he likes my videos.

cpriper117 karma

How do your parents feel about Captain Disillusion? I know you said your dad helps film when you talked at QED.

Captain-Disillusion310 karma

I think my experience is typical of most YouTubers in that my parents were cool with what I was doing, helped any way they could, but also... continuously told me that I'm wasting my time :)

My dad operated the camera on all of my early videos and still does it on occasion today. He ran the camera and the teleprompter on this most recent Will Tsai episode!

I could never have achieved any of this without him.

Sphax137109 karma

You've been debunking internet videos for years as Captain Disillusion. How have you managed to stay so consistent in your humor and style for all this time?

Captain-Disillusion285 karma

Well, I do my best to constantly improve. If I appear consistent, then I am failing. You have depressed me :)

tdtbaa81 karma

What's your least favourite video you've done? Do you have a favourite?

Captain-Disillusion233 karma

Ha, I'm the type of person who doesn't like their own work after it's done. When I post a new video, I watch it over and over for a day. Then I avoid watching it ever again. Some of the very early videos kind of make me cringe. A few hold up pretty well. I suppose I'm most proud of the Beakman episode as a whole.

Teh_Knife_Guy70 karma

First of all, I want to let you know that I am an enormous fan of your work and have seen every video at least 4 times!

My question: What as been your favorite video to make and why? Was it one where you used more effects or did a hoax interest you more than others!

All the best! :)

Captain-Disillusion116 karma

Thank you very much. Some of my videos end up being in slightly different categories from each other so it's hard to choose. In terms of just a technical breakdown of VFX, I kind of like 'Miss Ping Debunk' and 'Brusspup Outgeeked'. In terms of examining a product claim, I'm pretty proud of the 'Cicret Bracelet Debunk'. And as an overall edu-tainment achievement, I'm very happy that I was able to get away with making the 'Beakmallusion' episode.

iheartaegislash65 karma

Some of the good folks at /r/magic are currently having a debate on a thread about the America's got talent video that you tore apart. Some are arguing that what you did breaks the magicians code because there was actual trickery involved, and the VFX just helped in post to account for frame rate differences. How would you respond?

Captain-Disillusion272 karma

I'm not a professional magician. I don't know Will Tsai, I didn't invent or design the trick, I have no inside information on how it's done and I just might be 100% wrong about what I explained (but I'm fairly sure I'm right). If simply presenting a hypothesis on how a trick is done (packaged in a humorous video with a little background information that's publicly available) constitutes a breach of the magicians' code... then... well, ok. Sorry. I'll assume I'm banned from the Magic Castle and won't try to visit.

bag_of_oatmeal50 karma

Thanks for making me more skeptical in daily life Captain D.

What got you interested in effects, and what is your favorite effect that is used widely in your industry (professional artistic projects, like movies and TV)?

Captain-Disillusion95 karma

I've always liked visual effects ever since I was able to understand what they are. I think we should bring simple old MORPHS back. Like, Michael Jackson Black or White style morphs. They get a bad rap. Make America Morph Again.

Race_Bannon_Prime49 karma

What software do you use for your compositing? Is it all After Effects or do you use something fancier like Smoke?

Captain-Disillusion102 karma

After Effects for the vast majority of it. I use Syntheyes to do more complex motion tracking. Also Blender for 3D stuff, although Videocopilot's 'Element 3D' plugin is awfully convenient!

I've dabbled in learning Nuke, but it's more suited for working on single shots. AE is great for compositing and timing many transitioning shots in a hurry.

purpleveyron49 karma

Your videos are all great and at highest quality point I can imagine, how long does it take to gather data for them? Is it only you or the whole crew you work with? If so, how many people stand behind Captain Disillusion?

Captain-Disillusion85 karma

Thanks. I spend almost half the time it takes to make an episode figuring out the explanations and writing the script.

Most of the time, it's just me and a person running the camera. But sometimes, when I'm doing something more elaborate or "guest stars" are involved, I involve/hire more people for the shoot. The biggest crew we've ever had has been 4-5 people.

I do all the post-production (editing, vfx and sound) myself. Long days.

DavidQuirogaC48 karma

How do you achieved your colab with Beakman?

Captain-Disillusion114 karma

One day I remembered how cool the show was and was just browsing clips of it online. Then I found out that the actor, Paul Zaloom, still does appearances as the character in live shows for kids. I contacted him and after a while he got back to me, checked out my videos and agreed to do it. It took a few months after that to come up with the idea, write the script and arrange everything. It was quite and experience!

drabmaestro47 karma

Hey Captain D! Just wanted to stop by and say what a huge, massive fan I am of your work. I am continually in awe of the amount work you put into each video. The quality of the production, effects, and script are upper-tier. I've been a Patron for a while now, and you're the only content creator I've felt comfortable giving my money to because you so consistently put out such high-quality, pertinent content. Nowadays people will believe anything they see on the internet, and your sceptic's approach to it all is so logically and helpfully informative. Just, thanks SO, so much.

Anyway, if I have any burning question, it'd probably be about whether or not you have the motivation or intention of trying to go bigger with Captain D. Would you ever consider some kind of TV series, or online partnership? I just wish your stuff could be seen by more people!

Captain-Disillusion51 karma

Thanks very much, I really appreciate it. Yes, I'd like to do more with the series. I think there are a few ways to do that. Trying to figure it out, while also making the monthly videos.

WookieeR39 karma

Greetings from Venezuela, been following you since the beginning and I love your stuff.

Question: Are you aware of how big / small your global fandom is? Sometimes it saddens me not being able to share your work with more people because of the language barrier.

Captain-Disillusion81 karma

Hi, thanks! Sometimes people tell me, in the way you just have, and the YouTube stats show a pretty good spread of what countries people watch my videos. It makes me happy. A few months ago, I enabled community subtitles on all of my videos and many people have added translations into various languages. Subtitles can always be submitted here: http://www.youtube.com/timedtext_cs_panel?c=UCEOXxzW2vU0P-0THehuIIeg&tab=2

ArmTheNeutral37 karma

What happened to Mr. Flare? He was always my favorite character besides the captain. Also, I like the numerous guests that appear in your videos. Have you made appearances in any other youtuber's videos? (Not counting the Ms. Ping reaction video where they hit you with a hammer lol)

Captain-Disillusion74 karma

Mr. Flare is very temperamental, so it's hard to book him. But I'm hoping he'll be back one of these days.

I've appeared on various podcasts and in this short Skeptics' Guide sketch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJHovezqRBw

But I don't live close to any YouTubers I know of so it's not easy to do collabs.

abitbolgeorges33 karma

do you use blender only for modeling or do you use it also to edit the clip where you use 3d models ?

Captain-Disillusion55 karma

So far I only use it for modeling and animating 3D scenes, but I know it has powerful editing and compositing features. I need to take the time to learn them.

KnilAdlez32 karma

Hi Capt. D! I've been watching your videos since the ping pong one! My questions are:

What is your process for choosing a video to do a video on?

And have you ever thought about getting your show on TV or netflix?

Captain-Disillusion72 karma

  • I just look around the internet and field viewer suggestions for something good.
  • Has anyone ever NOT thought of having their own show on TV or Netflix? :)

awal198732 karma

How do you find characters to assist you in making your episodes? Eg, Holly, your kid, Ellie?

Thanks for doing what you're doing!

Captain-Disillusion73 karma

Just people I know or have some connection to. Holly is played by Lauren Hardie (@warlaur on twitter and instagram) whom I've known for years. She has worked as an actress, television anchor and radio host and is [mostly] a pleasure to work with :P Ellie is played by an up-and-coming actress and singer Crystal Shannon with whom I worked for several years as a supervising editor on a kids' web series called HitStreak. My digital kid was played by the son of a former co-worker of my girlfriend. NETWORKING, BABY.

GamerGunk31 karma

Which film do you think has the best blend of visual and practical effects?

Captain-Disillusion60 karma

Hmm, hard to pin down to a single movie. The directors that come to mind who do that particularly well are Christopher Nolan, Robert Zemeckis and Edgar Wright.

proffesordaddy25 karma

Hey Cap, I've been a fan for a couple of years now and I was wondering, was there any specific works of visual media(films or tv shows) that made you interested in the visual effects world?

Captain-Disillusion53 karma

I grew up obsessed with all films of Robert Zemeckis. I can't think of any other filmmaker who uses more elaborate visual effects more invisibly in service of a story.

FouriusVixen22 karma

First of all, Hey! I have just found your channel yesterday thanks to this post, and I absolutely fell in love with it! I binged watched every one of your videos(from 2007 to now) and ended up watching your live at QED 2016. There, you showed a string of comments and jacksfilms was among them. I did a quick google search and apparently, jacksfilms enjoys your content, but you already know that. After that, i found your Twitter and I wanted to tweet at you and Jack that you should do a collab. Like he did with CommentEtiquette, but coincidentally you have posted a tweet about this AMA. Anyway, here are some questions:

  1. Are you ever going to collab with him? It will really benefit your channel.

  2. AT QED you said that you do all of the work for Captain (Except Camera), is this still the case?

  3. Are ya married?

And finally...

4 . Is Youtube/Patreon your main source of income? If it is, what was your profession? Otherwise, what is your profession?

Anyway, great channel and good luck!

Captain-Disillusion37 karma

Thanks! Jack has been very kind in giving me so much promotion. I'm very excited any time accomplished YouTubers and other creatives express that they like my stuff. It's inspiring! 1. I'm happy to collab with anyone if the idea is cool and I think I could do a good job. 2. Yeah, most episodes involve just a camera person and then me doing all the post-production myself. When an video requires something more elaborate, I call up some friends or hire crew, but this is very rare. 3. I'm not married, but in a committed relationship. You may know her from the camera being pointed at me in most videos. 4. Over the last couple of years, Patreon/YouTube has indeed become my main source of income. I feel very fortunate that the generosity of my viewers has allowed me to do this. Before that, I worked as a freelance editor and VFX artist on small (usually commercial and industrial) productions.

spicyrazz10 karma

As a huge fan, thank you for providing such high quality content :-)

What would you rather animate yourself fighting, 100 duck sized horses or 1 horse sized duck? And who would win?

Captain-Disillusion68 karma

Thank you, you're very kind. Charged with such an elaborate animation task, I would of course build the scene in an efficient way that allows pre-rigged models of ducks OR horses to be swapped out as needed and their sizes adjusted with a single control.