Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Quick update - no pictures

I've almost got everything taken care of the for big shoot in June at Fort Amherst. I've got a couple demon backups in case some folks can't make it, I've got a few extra hands to help out, I've got all the heroes lined up and the new costumes 98% completed, the demon costumes are about 90% complete as well.

And if all goes well this will be shot with a brand spanking new camera that'll allow me to do slow motion shots and all manner of "damned that just looks awesome" kind of stuff. To avoid dead battery syndrome, I'll be getting a small portable generator.

All that's really left is to finalize everyone's involvement, do some test shots with the demon costumes - the swords are on they're way from a flooded warehouse in Denmark as I write this, some test shots of how we'll do the logistics of moving the actors from mark to mark onscreen for the final post effect of an entire army.

So far so good. After having had a taste of the worst case scenario kind of shoot, I have a pretty good feeling this is going to go much more smoothly. Knock on wood, or plastic, or whatever you have on hand.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The outcome of the Orwell Shoot

I spent several hours today going over the footage, editing it, colour correcting it and roughing out the minor visual effects shots. I've just a few minor tweaks and it should be done.

One that the worked really well was the colour correction - the weather was shifting all during the shoot, some shots were bright and sunny, others came out a little flat - I can't tell the difference anymore just by looking at these stills which ones were which.
It's not perfect, but I never expected it to be. I wanted a quick fight to open the movie and this will do just fine. The actual fight is over a minute, the opening itself I believe is about 5, should work out just fine.

So, here's some stills from the near final edit.

And now I can take a bit of a break again from this movie for another couple weeks, then I've got potentially the bigest disaster or most awesome scene I've ever shot.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Orwell Shoot, Part 2

As the title suggests, this is part 2 of the shoot out at Orwell. So iffen you haven't seen the first part, I highly recommended you read that first.

And now, on with more pictures...

This picture pretty accurately portrays
how I felt the bulk of the day.

And now, for the big finish!
The New Wyld Stallyns!

There you go then. I'm planning to get around to doing a rough edit of the footage this weekend, hoping it works out.

And I'll take this space here to say thanks again to you guys that were out there. Draper, Kim and Kim - thanks for dealing with the bugs, the less then hospitable environment, the ultra, high speed shoot and me being a cranky, crusty, impatient demon all afternoon. Not all our shoots are that rushed and stressful, this was an exception to the norm.

Thank god that's done. The Orwell Shoot, Part 1

I think it'd be fair to say it wasn't the easiest shoot in the world, probably more accurate to say it was stressful and a little tenses by time - but from the looks of the footage, it was worth it. I think.

In any case, thanks to all who helped out - there weren't that many involved. Draper in front of the camera as the dude who chops off the Beast's head. Kim Bradford shot the scene as best she could, and from what little time I've spent going over the footage, she did a great job. And Kim Johnston who got some awesome pictures of the whole ordeal.

I call it an ordeal because being in the prosthetic and that costume was extremely uncomfortable, moreso then I'd expected, and it just made me really impatient and pretty much frustrated and exhausted the whole time - and on top of that I had to make sure everything was working with the shots (it's a fight scene and they're so hard to make look good under the best of circumstances) and that we got everything we needed before the inevitable death of our equipment batteries. All of which gave out within seconds of the last shot actually.

It's over in any case and I can easily say that I will never attempt anything like that again, at least until I can figure out a way that I'm not the slightest bit concerned about what's going on behind the camera. The attention split was really overwhelming this time around.

With the ranting overwith, now the good side of the shoot.

Having just gone on about how horrific my costume was, it looked great on camera. From what I gathered, all that frustration kind of worked well since the Beast is supposed to be a pretty angry little fellow in the first place.

The latex swords worked brilliantly. I'd been assured by the manufacturers that they'd more then adequately hold up to this sort of abuse, but I still had a nagging doubt and was just waiting for something to go wrong - nothing did though. And it wasn't like we held back, those things took a massive amount of abuse from us.

The real swords on the other hand, chipped and scraped and even bent at one point. I can only imagine how long a real sword in a real battle would actually last, or at the very least stay sharp enough to do any damage.

Anyway, here's some pictures:

Kim Bradford helping me take care of some
of the parts of the makeup that were next to impossible
for me to do on my own.

Draper getting suited up.
The evil demon going over his Checklist of Doom!
Setting up the first shot.
Action Shot #1
And Action Shot #2
And the resulting Death Shot #1
Of course, the inevitable useless shot.
Peeling off the makeup on the drive home was awesome fun.
Don't I look ever so happy?

Overall the shoot took the better part of the day. I started the makeup around 11, we were on the road by shortly after 1 and I think it was close to 5 or so when we got back into town. I think the actual shooting took about 3 1/2 hours. Not too bad, but a little tiresome when you're running and fighting the whole time.

There was one incident that I actually found rather amusing. I wished we'd kept shooting, but ah well. Makes me think of those videos you see online where a guy impales himself on something, or someone falls off a roof and rather then help the guy with the camera just keeps shooting instead - I can say that I don't know anyone like that after this incident.

After that buildup, all that happened was an overshot jump that landed me right over the edge of the bank into the mud. I thought it was funny myself.

The area of incident.
The aftermath.
That lump in my hand is my muddy shoe that I almost lost.

There are a couple hundred more pictures to go through, from another camera. I'll go through them in a while and maybe add some more images here in another post, but until then, I'll leave you with some random snippets from the drive out to the shoot.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bright Green Demon Blood

I just got done my first day (of only 2 hopefully) as the Beast, the demon that starts the whole mess that unfolds as the plot of the entire movie...sort of. You'll have to see it I guess.

Today was I guess what you'd call 2nd Unit kind of stuff. Just some quick cutaway shots that didn't even require prosthetic makeup or anything - since you never see the Beast's face until the confrontation at the end. It was also to get Kim Bradford used to using the camera - although it was pretty hurried so I'm sure how used to it she got.

Overall it was relatively painless, although the costume was really heavy, cumbersome and warm. I felt a little rushed because the forecast was pretty damned sure it'd be cloudy and raining by 1's almost 8 pm and it's been a blue sky since near 2 pm and not one drop of rain.

In any case, here's some pictures and whatnot from the day.

Getting suited up.

The super awesome Green Demon Blood (tm)

Stills from the footage

If the weather holds we'll be shooting the remainder of this scene, the actual fight, on this coming Wednesday. And as much as I'm looking forward to it, I'm really dreading the makeup and the costume.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A quick update

Preperations for a quick shoot on this coming Saturday and the opening fight sequence are well underway. There's been a few new added shot of the Beast as our hero, whose been given the name of Dunham in the last round of storyboarding, tracking him down.

To keep the scene a little brisk I'm doing a shot of the Beast rushing through the forest for every shot of Dunham doing the same. As well as a quick series of shots of the Beast bandaging up his arm - his freakish green blood being the thing that leads Dunham to him. Kind of a Predator homage in a way.

I spent the day taking care of some final details. I gored up a shirt with some demon blood for the Beast. I worked on preping the makeup, the bald cap is annoying little bastard - the slightest nick turn into a massive tear, so I did some patchwork and it looks good to go. I also had to touch up a real sword to match the fake sword. The fake has a gold looking hilt to it, while the real was silver - some gold paint took care of that easy enough.

So Saturday I'm running my new camera person through her paces, kind of a trial by fire. I figure I can get her up to speed, get some extra shots done now so we can just focus on the fight scene - which I've tentatively scheduled for this coming Wednesday.

So there should be some good stuff to see soon enough.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Two posts in one day! Exciting!

The reason for two posts today is that some stuff arrived unexpectedly early. The prosthetics. This was the part I was worried the most about, one of those things that you have you get dead set on when you see it and you know that nothing else will really work. They're nothing too crazy, but there's just something about this particular prosthetic that I really liked.

I like this, I guess because, it was just different enough from the average monster face. I suppose it's kind of werewolf/vampire looking to a degree -whereas this sort of solider demon character is normally very orcish or goblinesque looking.

Here's all four of the little buggers.
And a swanky closeup of one.
It's odd though that I'd be so picky when really only the nose and mouth will be really visible once the hood is on - but I see it as part of the foundation of the characters I guess. For me, just knowing that's the face under the hood is what works.

Anyway, there you go. One more thing down.

I also just got word of 2 more shipments, one should be here tomorrow or Wednesday - with this one down I'm able to finally get my scene as The Beast over and done with. The other shipment - maybe late next week are just the gloves. I'm still waiting to hear back about the swords for the Demon Army, hopefully it'll be good news.

I also wanted to point out, these came from Makeup Mania, there's a link over there on the side if you're interested.

New Stuff

Here's the stuff I said I'd post from this weekend.

This here's more or less the armor for the Demon Army. This is just the tunic (which has to be torn and raggedy looking), the breastplate and the mantle. There's way more to the costume, this was just on a sewing dummy and I thought I'd take a picture.

The gorget keeps making me think of the Scarecrow from Wizard of Oz, but ah well - what can you do?

And keep in mind there's a black top and bottom that go underneath this, as well as leather gloves, greaves and bracers and finally a hood. And after they're all done, I'll also be taking each costume out to wear it in and dirty it up so it'll look like it's seen a few wars already.

And here's the two axes I made. They're small hand axes, not giant crazy things like the warhammer is. The blades are 8 inches long to give you a general idea of their size. And they're a lot tougher then I expected them to be, I still wouldn't risk smashing folks with them though.

They were relatively easy to make, all things considered, so I reckon I'm going to try to make a mace, that will be a third weapon this particular member of the Brotherhood gets to use. Everyone else has massive sword or a warhammer - I figured what his weapons lack in size, they can make up for in number.

The best part of trying another weapon is that it won't cost anything other then the price of the handle. There was more then enough materials and supplies left over from these two that I can do the mace without spending much more. I'm starting that this afternoon, I'll let you know how it goes

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Productive weekend

I managed to get a massive amount of work accomplished this weekend, and there's still almost 2 hours left, so you never know what else might happen.

I did a good chunk of work for my actual paying job and got some new shots done for an animated movie I'm doing for someone - it's looking pretty damned good so far too.

In the middle of all that, got some work done for the Demon Army costumes, I made the mantles, or gorgets...or collars, whatever you want to call them. Didn't come out as I'd hoped, but they do what they need to do. They're pretty crude looking, which was the look I was going for so I guess that's a "mission accomplished".

I even made some attempt to create the tunics for the same costumes. Not that there's much skill involved in making a ratty, torn, piece of crap looking tunic. Still, it's done.

So far all that's left to be made for these costumes are the hoods - that'll be an awesome good time.

And I also made two weapons. I wanted to give one of the Brotherhood characters two small hand axes for his weapons. I couldn't find anything reasonable to buy, so I figured I made a warhammer - how hard could and axe, or two, be?

They're far from flawless, but for what little they cost - they're pretty good looking. I'd post some pictures, but it's getting late and I'm tired - plus they still need a couple more coats of paint and latex to really solid them up.

I think that's about it. I'll probably post a few pictures soon.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Demon Army

I've finalized the design of the demons for the Demon Army. There's still a bit of work to do to fully complete them. I was hoping to keep it pretty streamlined, but it just didn't look right at all. It's a lot of layers, but it should be really easy to slip on and off without too much problem.

I think each costume has at least 10 pieces - maybe 11 depending. I've got most of it all sussed out, either on order, made or almost made. The only part that been causing problem is the hood. It's not something you can just buy - or at least not like I want it too look - so I'm hoping it's something that can be made relatively easily. That hardest part will be creating a workable pattern. And then the most fun part comes along, wearing the costumes in so they don't look all bright and shiny new - I get to take each one, wear it and roll in the dirt and whatever else with scuff and filthy then up a bit.

Other then that it's nearly take care of. I have the weapons being shipped as well as the prosthetics I wanted. It's coming along really well and I hope to have this scene shot and over with by end of June.

Things are insanely busy these days so knowing this is coming to an end is a bit of a relief.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Location Re-scouting

I've made some decent progress over the last couple weeks.

I've been working away on the armor for the Demon Army for the upcoming shoot. As well as rethinking and making some new pieces for the Brotherhood. None of them are highly professional looking pieces, but I think they're pretty good given what they're needed for.

Bracers are easy enough pieces to create and tend to stand out the most I think. So I made sure each character has their own distinct set.

It wasn't until I took this picture that
I realized I made a mistake with these ones.
They're supposed to be opposite to one another,
not like this - ah well, no big.

I should be done all the leatherwork part of the process in another week or so when I get more time. I've also managed in the meantime to get more pieces ordered as well, most importantly the prosthetics for the demons. I was worried that by the time I got around to ordering them, they wouldn't have enough in stock and I've have to look for something else - the company doesn't seem to update their stock very frequently.

Otherwise, there's been some really good progress with the opening sequence as well. It just seems to be lagging in getting off the ground. This last week I managed to get things rolling again. I had to rethink to location because my original one was based off it being winter - it's not so winter any more. I changed it to a location I've used it in a couple other project, neither of which were mine - so this is my first time shooting my own stuff out there.

We're shooting in a little valley in Orwell Corner, if you're familiar with it, you know why we're shooting there. If not, I've got some pictures for you.

It was pretty soggy out there, it had been raining off and on for two days straight. We went out to get some ideas on Thursday, then decided it was good enough to actually do some shots on Friday, as well as finally do a few run throughs of the fight scene choreography.

The shots went quickly. The run through was a bit of a task. It paid off though, we discovered a few flaws in it and were able to make some fixes, add some new parts and whatnot. It was actually pretty fun.

About 5 minutes in through, I snapped my practice sword. Which I guess shows we weren't holding back. In any case, if all goes well we hope to shoot this in the next couple weeks. The storyboards are nearly completed and I think it'll be a pretty good opening.

Now we'll just see how things go until we shoot again.