vertex and face count

Hi everyone, nice community you have got going here.

My question:

In the following video this guy more then doubles the vertex and face count without it actually showing on the mesh.
I know how to subsurf and smooth/set smooth but it does not look like either of those.
Also he turns the mesh (cylinder) into a cube somehow.
I`m using 2.49

Can someone please explain this.

Video 1. time frame 16:41.