Alterations

It seems an endless quest to work out the best, and quickest way to make this all work.

Filming: I expect I’ll be filming all the green screen footage in 720p. Once that’s done, I’ll upscale the footage into a 1080p project. For the most part it shouldn’t be really noticeable, the footage will be slow and the environment will be native 1080p. Fingers crossed.

Wood Character: The character that our protagonist meets is turning into wood, so there’s a mix of organic materials revealed. This should be uncomfortable and somewhat abject. I love the idea of using Olivier De Sagazan’s horrible deformed clay, but this will probably be very dirty and not ideal for long periods of filming.

Looking at other options for looks, I remembered the ‘Clickers’ from the game, ‘The Last of Us’. Apart from being an amazing game, the design of these horrible (and unbeatable) monsters is based on the idea of the Cordyceps Brain Infection fungus. Usually it kills insects such as wasps with it’s parasitic nature, but the game takes it to a new zombie like level. It may be possible to incorporate this organic fungal look into a mask for the wood character. I’ve checked out a few tutorials online and the foam used in filling holes in building work might be a great material. mix this with some wood, branches and some airbrush, and this might just work.

Dress: I’m pretty sure we’re going to use this dress;

Location: Billie’s done some scouting and photography of the Quarry. There’s some great textures there, but there may not be enough for us to use. It’s also fairly small. Alternatively I’ve been looking into using VUE by E-on. It’s a 3D graphics program designed purely to produce nature. I should be able to import camera tracking data into it as well, which means I can create a virtual environment and then insert the green screen footage into it, matching the camera path.

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Virtual environments

So Billie has been doing lots of research on the location. She’s gone to a local quarry, which would have been ideal, had it been a little bigger and with less machinery.

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It’s a shame as it would definitely be an easier option to use these areas and mask off the top for sky textures.

Instead, today has mostly been about watching tutorials on Lynda and Video Copilot. about 8 hours worth…

For the past week I’ve been looking at the likelihood of creating a completely virtual environment. This is because we’re having difficulty getting everything organised, not through any fault of ours, but more that we’re attempting to herd an awful lot of cats…

Firstly, the ongoing saga of renting the 5D, steady cam rig and arranging for a location to film in. We’ve been looking at quarries as the locations Paul had a look at are a little green for my tastes. If we had a volcano knocking about, that would be great! Sadly London is lacking in volcanic formations. With all these issues it may be easiest to create environments in Cinema 4D and After Effects.

I’ve done some 2.5D work in AE previously with my work on the Ladybird books animation last year, but I want this to be somewhat deeper in it’s 3D. So my best bet would be to use some tracking dots with the green screen, use some camera tracking software like Boujou and transfer that information into Cinema 4D and the keyed out green screen footage.

The Cinema 4D footage will be using the “Projection Man” element of the program, essentially similar to AE’s ability to layer pictures in 3D space, but using 3D contouring.

So basically lots of research.

Tracking and tests

So I’ve spent a little while looking at some test footage that I filmed of Billie. This is simply so that I can see how her illustrations might work within the context of a live action scenario.

My tracking is a little off as there were few tacking points in the footage, but it at least gives a small indication of what we can do. It may not look quite like this as there would need to be a clearer idea or at least execution of certain fx. This was filmed in 720p on my 600D at 50fps. It’s playing back at 25fps for the slow mo effect. I’ve added some filters so give a bit of atmosphere to the setting, but hey, it’s still a goddamn corridor, right?

There’s definitely something to it, but it needs more depth, something stronger. Not sure what yet, perhaps its the environment?

In other news, still looking for people to be in the video itself. My housemate Fil would do it, but the only times I can book the studio seem to be daytimes. Speaking of which, this is specifically for greenscreen. Rather than the method I employed last year, namely booking out several lights and a green screen itself to use in the main Illustration studio, I’ve decided to approach the journalism dept. They have got an entire green screen suite and very little times it’s booked out. Which is just as well because I’m having a hell of a time with booking out the correct camera from the kit room. I’d like to be able to film in 1080p at 50fps, so I’ll need to research that. Currently I’m stuck in 720p, and I need that higher resolution if it’s to be commercially released. Of course the cameras always seem to be booked out, along with every steadycam rig. So, I’ll have to move the date I’ve booked in the green screen studio and rebook at a time I can get the camera.

Stress.

Faces

Been looking at design ideas for a secondary character within the Khaidian video. I’ve been really quite interested in a few different angles. The secondary character that the protagonist meets is a thin, gaunt looking man. He has already started turning into a type of tree with roots… Some inspiration:

Titus Andronicus. Hands cut off and tongue cut out. The film Titus managed to produce such a striking image with this scene. The whole film is actually very stunning visually.

Some additional prosthetics I love and feel would be an interesting addition to the design of the character is the King from Hellboy 2. Excellent head dress that looks part of the character.

Talking of Guillemo Del Toro, his pale man character from Pan’s Labyrinth has similar body type I’d like to represent.

There’s also performance artist, Olivier de Sagazan, I find his art and performance quite disturbing. I may look at incorporating some kind of clay similar to De Sagazan, smearing it across their face and head.

 

I’ve also planned out the way that the video should progress. I’ve used the lyrics to map it because they best represent the video pace.

dominion lyrics

Skies

Today has mainly been about location shooting. or at least scouting.

Idea: find somewhere that looks pretty desolate. Film some stuff. Mask some matt paintings into the background to make the whole thing look suitably alien.

Problem: we’re in london. Home of nowhere desolate. Billie’s looking at quarries but theres the obvious issue of it being a health and safety problem. Having your actor walking along in a Victorian dress and hard hat probably isnt the best plan.

What other options have I got? CG? I could completely create a CG environment and green screen the actor into it. problem with that is it won’t look that real. Our better bet is to only use CG for backgrounds.

Inspiration?

Great night skies

Again, really nice timelapse, Great song as well 🙂

Seeing as I’m posting Puscifer stuff, here’s an interesting example of using CG within a bigger environment and a character walking through it.

This is a little less interesting than I’d like, and it’s possibly too ‘cartoony’ but It’s got a similar feel to where this could go.

This kind of brings me to what I could do for the sky. The initial idea is that it starts during the day, then there’s sunset, then night and then daybreak. It is symbolic of death and rebirth. Elizabeth Bronfen’s Night passages looks at such symbology.

Day shouldn’t be a problem to reproduce within after effects, but I’m interested in how to convey night, especially if I want it to seem alien. A great solution should be the use of cloud tanks and food colouring on glass. Shanks FX explains these processes fairly in depth:

A selection of shots from my visit to the London Planetarium in Greenwich.

The year starts…

khaidian logo black over transparentSo where to start? I think that the task ahead is actually pretty huge. To produce a video, album artwork and merch for Khaidian.

Billie’s doing a great job coming up with designs for the Khaidian albums and possible merch ideas. We’ve both decided that 1900’s medical illustrations mixed with the ‘Khaidian roots’ logo would actually be the best feel. That way it ties in with her style and the concepts of the band’s imagery.

Primarily looking at the video side of the project, I’m looking at producing imagery similar to Ganesh Rao’s Empyrean using his sense of framing and surrealism. But with a 2d medical look. 

Of course there are other elements we’ve both latched onto, such as La Planete Sauvage, the 1973 film by Rene Laloux inspired by Roland Topor’s paintings, and Floria Sigismondi’s Videos.

Plot will centre around a journey of sorts. To tie into the Victorian feel I want to use a character of a similar dress to Penny Dreadful’s Eva Green. Something that is Victorian in feel but is possibly closer to an interpretation rather than being totally accurate.

Setting wise we’re looking at some form of abandoned wasteland. something incredibly desolate and alien. Billie has been scouting Quarries and I’ve asked Paul, Khaidian’s drummer, to scout around his area (Oxford) as he tends to bike ride a fair amount. I should be getting some photos back soon.

Overall there should be a sense of abandonment, change and a journey. Currently we’re attempting to do some tests to see if we should be using realistic CG or Billie’s illustrated work as elements within the actual world. Some tests soon!

Khaidian’s EPK biography

khaidian biography web