Friday, November 11, 2011

Something Visible to Your Eyes

Yeah... Haven't thought of a name for this new, hopefully mostly daily feature. Drew and I were recently discussing the pre-viz of the film, and what's going to best help the visual effects artists we recruit in the future.  As he put it, the idea is to spark these artist's creativity. So really only a few key shots from each scene need to be fleshed out with detail. We decided that at this point in time we wouldn't get a lot of use out of the full-length edit I was planning, at least not enough to justify that effort.

So there was a discussion of maybe storyboard frames, something along those lines. This immediately terrified me, since drawing is not really my strong suit. Then I thought maybe something akin to the raw frame pluses I'd been doing on the blog. This way I could create these references using actual shots we'd already gathered, and really develop the look, framing, lighting, all of that. Drew agreed that would probably be a better guide than storyboards, so that's where we're going.

I've said on many occasions that the sequences which excite me the most are the ones that we've never seen captured on film before. Since we're not going to need this pre-viz for a while yet, I'm free to bounce around as my whimsy demands. My whimsy in this instance demanded river. Neither Tam nor Song, but rather the action sequence from the book. As good a place to start as any.

It started with our raw footage of Dorothy, as it always will. This is one of the more ridiculous ones without context, because she's kneeling on a weird green piece of plumbing, screaming and waving her arms around her head.

It started out with a reposing of the existing Woodman model, and the creation of a rough raft. I wanted to try something sort of birchy with the logs, since trees in film, especially fantasy films, always seem to be brown or green. We've never tackled water yet in our work on the movie, so I put some thought into how I wanted that to look. I decided to try out a pretty stylized thing, pushing it perhaps farther than Sean, or indeed anybody but myself, would like. Time will tell. Here's the background I created, anyway. As you'll see soon it will become mostly obscured in the final.

Sean and I mentioned in Jared's podcast, and maybe somewhere else, that he'd moved the crow attack to be a part of the river sequence. For a number of good reasons, and I fully support the alteration. But that's what Dorothy's doing with her flailing arms; fending off vicious crows. So I had put some in there. Otherwise it's just a little girl spazzing out on a raft.

And there's the final. Worth emphasizing, this is not intended as a full representation of the actual film. It's just providing a general guideline of what I'm seeing in my head, for the future VFX work. The work needs to be fairly quick if I'm to get a few done for every scene in the film, so I can't afford to spend more than a few hours at most on each.

And that's what the new feature on the blog here will be. There will be the occasional clip, but mostly it's going to stick to stills. We can't show you ALL the frames I'm creating, because we are making a movie that people will hopefully pay money to see in the near future. Spoiling every shot, even in rough, is going to... spoil every shot. Like where we're going? Hate it? Sound off in the comments or on the Facebook.


  1. Couldn't have picked anything better myself. You're showing some real action . . . and that makes this film/movie EXCITING and worthwhile to see!

  2. I understand your logic completely. While your movie is going to be different from the scrolling action I see in my head, I full respect your decision to keep the best shots a surprise. Even in my story, I don't want to share the entire synopsis, but I'm happy to share a teaser.