Sunday, January 20, 2013
A few cool updates. “Leap: Rise of the Beast” is just about to hit 1000 views, so I’m pretty excited about that. As far as Leap 3 goes, I’m in full pre-pro mode. I’m currently finishing what I hope to be the final draft of the script. I’ll then send that to readthrough.com and get my audio version of the script. I’ve also set up the project in Gorilla so that as soon as the script is locked, I can import it and begin the scheduling and budget. I may still use an Excel spreadsheet for the budget, haven’t decided yet. I’ve never used Gorilla before, so I’ll see how I like it. I love it’s project management and scheduling features though. So much better than Celtx. I’m glad to have that off my system.
I’m also starting on previz using Frameforge. I was torn between Blender, Sketchup and FF. Blender is great for moving animatics, but it takes a while to set up the scene right. Sketchup confuses me. Frameforge, however, I found to be extremely fast and fairly straightforward. You can build and save “Sets”, add your actors (minus the right costumes) and then add a virtual version of your camera. For instance, since I know what my lenses are, I set a “zoom range”. I can only use those that I have. I also built a virtual camera with the same sensor size as my 550D and then cropped the top and bottom to 2.40. With the presets made up, you just load a set, add and pose the actors and camera, then start experimenting!
This set took ten minutes to build, having never used the software before.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Lots of cool stuff going on! Movie-wise, things are still progressing, just slower than I’d like. I’m still doing some effects testing and I think I’m almost done solving all the issues. I used the Element 3D plugin to do some fighter jets that turned out nice and for the past month I’ve been trying to nail the tidal wave that will destroy a city. Most of that time was spent playing with the fluid sim, but I was unable to get the scale right since Blender maxes out at 10 meters. I made a list of other options like trying multiple fluid objects, smoke instead of water, deforming a mesh with a lattice. None of those worked. I finally decided to try a Photoshop/After Effects combo. Found an image of a wave I liked that didn’t have much spray or foam, Photoshopped out what I didn’t want and threw it into AE. I animated it in 3D space, added a Turbulent Displace effect and then comp’d in some quickie buildings I had made in Blender. Since this shot will be at night, I graded it to look right. While the shot isn’t perfect, this method worked far better than I expected, so I’ll keep heading in this direction for now.
It seems like this movie has got me jumping ship from all my old software to new stuff. First Celtx to Trelby/Final Draft, then Vegas to Premiere, and now I’ve left Mixcraft for Reaper. Yep. I’ll now be using Reaper for any music scoring that I do personally. Since I’m wanting to use only Hymns this time around, I figure I can download some midi’s learn how they’re played, then “orchestrate” them. Should work well.
Also on the software front, I’ve started using Microsoft Office 2013 instead of LibreOffice. With starting the ministry, a major part of my job is to give lectures/sermons about the subject matter of our movies. I’ve recorded six or so messages and uploaded them online, but recently I’ve been able to start doing some speaking at church, which is ultimately where I want to go with the lectures. Unfortunately the presenting program of the LibreOffice suite wasn’t up to my standards, so I went Office 2013 mostly for PowerPoint. I think that the last version of Office I used was 2003. It’s come far in ten years and I really like it now.
One last note, “Leap: Rise of the Beast” is still going fairly strong. It’s been online for a month and a half and we’re almost at 700 views, which isn’t bad when you consider I’ve hardly promoted the thing. God is moving and causing those that need to see it to find it, so I really can’t complain. I’ve made quite a few new friends lately that have seeing either the film, or the messages I have.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Been staying busy doing some more effects testing, did a shot of a lake having turned to blood that came out pretty good. Still needs work, but that’s why I’m starting the on certain effects right now, so I have the time to develop them and figure out how the movie will need to be shot.
With this new laptop, I finally had the power to take my HD master of Leap: Rise of the Beast and convert it for a web upload. My upload speed out here isn’t anything to write home about so it took six hours to up the one gig file. The important thing now though is that the film is online available for all to see, for FREE (remember when things were free?) Hopefully this gives them that need to see the film they opportunity to.
Wednsday, October 17, 2012
Been spending the day learning some stuff about Blender. While I’ve used this amazing piece of software since high school, they’ve been making some major changes as of late, especially for visual effects work. It has built in planar tracking now, among other things that I’m really excited about. Today was spent learning how the cycles render engine works (love it!) and getting familiar with the fluid simulator so I can do the end of the film where tsunamis take out cities. Even did a mock test that turned out pretty nice. Watching some of the tutorials today on the features, I found it funny that many of them were done by kids that couldn’t be older than 13. I was blown away by what they were doing, and the understanding they have of the software. Can I hire them to join STARS Digital?
Thursday, October 4, 2012
With my switch to Adobe official, I recorded a short vlog yesterday highlighting my reasons.
With the trailer for “Run” complete, I’m getting ancy. I NEED something to edit and mix so I can hone my skills for Leap 3. I realized that I never was fully happy with the trailer I did for Leap 2 so I’m putting Premiere to yet another test by importing all my footage from Leap 2 – every last take – and I’ll cut a new trailer. The import is going slow, but steady. I can live with that. I have to remind myself that I’m trying to do an online edit on a middle of the road laptop. Fortunately, once the ministry is up and going, the first two things I’m purchasing is a beastly editing/effects rig for the studio and a beefy laptop to travel with me. With the abuse I’m putting on my current laptop, I’ll be surprised if it lasts a year.
I finished the business plan for the ministry yesterday. While it was a lot of work to write, I’m very glad I did it. The budget is basically done too – all I’m waiting on is for an insurance company to get back to me with a quote for employee benefits If it’s too much, I have no problem nixing it, but I figured I might as well see what it’ll costs. Other than that though, everything looks pretty solid. I worked really hard to get exact costs when possible because I didn’t want to under estimate, or over estimate for that matter.
Wendsday, September 5, 2012
First off, what an awesome God I serve. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had any sort of income, and suddenly it all arrived in my bank account, just when I needed it.
I’ve been pretty busy the past few days doing some effects tests for Leap: Revelation. The second coming, some hail, and tanks have filled my time. I’m so thankful that the Lord has given me the skills needed to pull this flick off. When I wrote the script, I didn’t hold back because I wanted to challenge myself to be free. Now I’m challenging myself to figure out how to do all the shots, but so far I haven’t had an issue.
Here’s my latest effort. The image is from Spokane where we’ll be shooting some scenes involving martial law. The crowd is simply occupy protesters. I did a crowd replication to fill the scene out more, and set up the shot in Blender, my 3D program that also happens to be free. Remember when things were free? My render from Blender was way too sharp, so I ran a fast blur on it, added the mosaic filter, and matched grain, all in After Effects. After than it was simply a matter of color matching the shots and applying a grade. While it’s not yet perfect, it is pretty close. I need to work on my 3D lighting some more, but I think I’m well on my way.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
While I’ve mentioned the influences for Leap: Revelation before, I decided this time to put together an actual Lookbook, comprised of stills from said influences. I’ve got a stack of movies in front of me, and from these I’ll be able to show some of the angles/composition, location ideas, color, and effects references. I’m not sure how many images I’ll end up with, I got six from 2012 and now I’m pulling from The Great Challenge. I’ll upload the entire Lookbook to our facebook page at facebook.com/leap3movie when I’m done.