Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Because it all began with an illusion...

Today's directors wear many hats. This is part of the digital "evolution" of film making. We might be the descendants of illusionists and storytellers, but today, we're often a multitasking one man (or woman) band, aided, of course by our trusty computers.

This week we've been script writing, story-boarding, casting and directing (a 3 day shoot last week and another 2 day shoot later this week).

But, in between these jobs, we've also been hard at work on the effects shots.

Above: FX breakdown for All That Remains.

It's when working on these shots that we're reminded of how film actually started, a grand illusion, a magic trick of light and shadow that somehow conjured up moving images of people, cars, everyday life, or even brand new worlds. George Melies took his audience on a trip to the moon in 1902.

Today, audiences don't think twice about being transported back to when Dinosaurs roamed the earth or straight in to the middle of an alien war in stunning colour and life-like realism (for the most part).

As low budget film-makers, we're at an exciting time, with more and more affordable software being released on the market, software that is capable of producing (in the right hands) Hollywood standard FX.

But, we feel it would be a big mistake for today's film-makers to ignore the techniques of some of those early  pioneers in the FX world, techniques such as the use of miniatures can often be more effective than opting for a digital set-piece.

Personally we're still big fans of the old school FX wizards like "Stop Motion" geniuses Ray Harryhausen (the skeleton battle in Jason and the Argonauts is still amazing today!) and Willis O'brien, who's King Kong creation in 1933 was by far the best (and most characterful) version until Peter Jackson's in 2005.

We love the idea of mixing both old and new to create a seamless illusion of reality and will be using miniatures alongside digital set-pieces/props and traditional make-up alongside digital manipulation of actors to create the necessary effects needed for All That Remains.

By looking back at the old film pioneers and researching their techniques and methods, we can still learn a lot, and just as importantly, find inspiration.

Below is a short behind the scenes video of the last three days shoot for All That Remains., courtesy of Dynomite Productions. A very intense, but fun three days!