Friday, July 18, 2014

Battle of the Augments

My entry in the Reallusion iClone Battle Contest:

"Battle of the Augments"

Starring BiggsTrek and JetCityWoman

Thanks to:

"Future Imperfect" - by BiggsTrek

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Alien / Easter Poster

For the Reallusion Poster contest (2014):

This is my version of the Alien movie poster. I decided to animate it and go a little seasonal.

Props are VidiEgg by vidi and Rabbit_White by Reallusion. The animated text was created in SketchUp (animated by changing the opacity of several textures.)

The end result was generated entirely in iClone (no post production work!)


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Godiva - Music, Dialogue and Sound Effects

There's been a few comments and discussions about the lack of dialogue, the sound effects and music in 'Godiva'. I thought I'd respond to those comments:

Music: Even though the movie was going to be full of sound and voices when I started the project, things changed dramatically early on in the production when I came across some free music supplied by YouTube. I'd filmed the first few minutes of the movie (the initial flight sequence through the asteroids) and when I heard the music (Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata) I instantly wanted to see what it would be like in the movie. Well, I loved it. So much so that I toyed with it being the only audio element in the film. But the piece wasn't long enough to cover the entire film, and I couldn't find another piece that had the same feel to it that I could continue on with. But I did find a weird, almost discordant piece (well, 4 pieces - a string quartet performing pieces by Gustavo Becerra-Schmidt) that worked well in the film, but in a different way. And I also knew that this new piece wouldn't work on its own (not as well as Beethoven's piece did, anyway). Now that I was all keyed up for music, I wanted to finish the movie with a strong, heart wrenching kind of number. Something I've noticed in 'real' movies is that oftentimes they use a chorus of choir for those kind of scenes. So I went looking for something like that and ended up with this rather ancient number (Unus ex discipulis meis, by Tomás Luis de Victoria from the 16th century!) I think it worked really well and I actually chose the shots and timing of those shots based on the music. Once I had all the music, I knew I wanted it to lead the film, rather than just augment it, so I opted to sacrifice other elements of the overall sound design to achieve this...

Dialogue (or the lack of it): Some have said that the film needed dialogue, while others have said it didn't need any. Obviously I agree with the latter, but I can understand the former. Originally the film was going to have dialogue, and I actually wrote the lines for the first three scenes before I realised it didn't need them. In fact, I would argue that it not only didn't need them, but it would have been a very different (and inferior) film had I included them. In my mind, the film would have been very pedestrian; just another sci-fi flick with a monster. But by removing the dialogue and letting the music do its thing, and thus allowing the audience to interpret events on their own, rather than me spoon feeding them the facts with dialogue, I feel the film was lifted above the norm. Just a little, anyway. I admit that the entire story was not revealed in the film; there are several unanswered questions (How did Donaldson survive the monster? What was Sister Nova's link to it? etc) But isn't it more fun to ponder these things, rather than have them laid out in front of you? It's often said that us filmmakers should "Show, Not Tell" and I think this is a perfect example of just that. In the end, about the only way dialogue would have made it into the film would have been in the form of "chatter" as part of the overall sound design. But when it came to doing the sound effects, I opted to avoid that as well. More on that in the next section...

Sound Effects: This was probably the toughest aspect of the overall sound design for 'Godiva'. At one point I seriously considered having no sound effects at all throughout the entire film, figuring the visuals and music could carry it without them. And although I feel this is true of the opening and ending sequences, the middle section fell flat with their absence. So I started popping in an effect here, an effect there, mostly in an attempt at emphasizing the explosions and "big" events of that section. Now realistically, there should be no sounds at all in the "outer space" shots as sound cannot carry in a vacuum. But again, I needed to emphasize things, so I opted at breaking that little law of physics (and as 99% of sci-fi films today do the same thing, I think I can get away with it!) And yet in most of the spaceship interior shots (where sounds are expected), I left them silent as I didn't feel they needed any extraneous noise. Maybe not what everyone else would have done in the same position, I admit, but it felt right to me. And I like the end result.