Saturday, November 25, 2006

No news is sort of good news?

Nothing really new to post, other then shooting has hit a bit of a delay. This is for several reasons.

First reason, lack of a shooting location for the final three sequences - I had a gymnasium lined up as a location, but that has fallen through for some very annoying reasons I won't go into.

However, the silver lining to that is more time to prep everything. So really, just lost time I can live with if the payoff is a better and more prepared shoot. By more prepared I mean bringing in lights to pull off some special effects gags, getting a better feel for the scenes overall and all that stuff.

And of course the ever present financial reasons, which should no longer be a problem if all works out. I need to bring in some new lighting equipment as well as a massive white backdrop for a scene I'm calling "The White Room" - which really isn't a "white room" exactly, but it looks like that out of context.

Other then that, working on collecting music for a soundtrack. As lame as it kinda sounds, you wouldn't believe what is available out there for royalty free music. It might cost a bit of money, but it's beyond worth it.

And in the meantime I've also been busy going over all the FX - and there is going to be a lot. From cleaning up the burned out pixels for nearly half the movie, to just cleaning up excess objects in frame here and there (namely scripts in a few key shots) to colour correcting, extra dramatic lighting here and there and even removing entire parts of certain shots - it's going to be a huge amount of work...And I haven't even started on the actual special effects stuff yet.

An example of a script in the shot.
The average person might not notice it or even care.
But if I can fix it, I can't live with leaving it in.

To give you a rough idea. The Library Scene we shot last week. It's got roughly 27 shots, 26 of those need to be touched up BEFORE I even start to add in the computer generated set or Librarian character. And then there's an entire computer generated chase scene that has to be storyboarded and created.

So you might be asking "Is this even worth it?" The answer is yes, obviously. The Monkey Rodeo: MALICE is hardly the next Oscar worthy movie, even on an Indie or B-Movie scale, but what I want is something that is just fun to watch because there's just so much to look at. Not a fan of overdone eye-candy movies, but there's a small niche that this fits into and I think it should fit in it's own small way.

Anyway, I mention the FX side of things because I know so many of you just sit and wait week after week wondering what absolutely tedious work I'm up to this week. And just for you, I have an extra special treat...well, not really extra or even special really, just an example of the post work going on so far.

Some examples:

Here we have the original shot.

And the more or less final version.

All I really did was make a single mask that removed the far left edge of the frame - removing the mirror around the door and the wall. And for when Malice enters I had to mask out the entire hallway in behind her - because I wanted it to be just black - not looking like a hotel hallway. That part was done through a process called rotosplining, I may have mentioned it before, not sure. In any case this process is used to create a mask where normally you might use a green screen but either don't have the budget or time or whatever - so you end up creating shapes (splines) and matching them up with the video nearly frame by frame at some points - I guess that's the roto part...I don't really know, so don't ask me, I just made that up perhaps.

Without going too deeply into it, the process is partially automated. If you set the position of the splines at your first frame (usually 0) and then at say the 10th frame, you'll could get lucky and hopefully frames 1 through 9 will match up, since it moves the splines automatically from their positions at frames 0 to 10. And you would do this for an entire clip, at 30 frames a second it can get pretty tedious the longer the shot. I think you get the point.

And this is a much easier shot to clean up, just a single mask that removes the unwanted visuals at the right edge.
And After.
These are fairly straightforward and simple clean up jobs - but when you have close to 200 or more throughout the entire movie it becomes slightly overwhelming by times. So I'm just taking it pretty much one scene at a time for now.

If these changes look a little subtle, that's the point. If I can give any advice to any filmmakers at my level - don't think about doing this kind of thing unless you've already set it up in advance to make these kind of changes. In other words, don't film during the day and think you can make it look like night (watch some episodes of Magnum PI to see what I mean). So knowing I would be removing those sections of the shots, I set them up accordingly knowing full well with a little effort it could be cleaned up.

Also, if you're looking at these and thinking the edges past the door might be a little too dark - that's fine, this is just a first pass and I haven't really decided if I'm going with the doorway sort of floating in an inky black space look or if there'll be some sort of visible (although still dark) wall back there.

Sorry for the tech laden post for those of you who just like the pretty pictures - I feel for you, I really do. In closing, it probably will be some time before you see too much new stuff other then this sort of thing - so you've been warned, no complaining.

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