As part of my launch party day, I’ve also added this article from my Space Squid blog. This one focuses more on the post-production process that we finally just wrapped :).
Sandra and I had spent a large part of term 3 knocking on wood at all of our good luck; we had an excellent team to work with, a great Monster to create and an incredible time on set. Minor issues here and there, but overall smooth sailing and we were ready for whatever was coming up next.
As we arrived for our mini-vacations at our separate homes in Edmonton and Mexico, Sandra and I got word that our green screen was too dark and that our lead motion designer, Ehab, was having trouble keying the actor and the set out of the screen.
….Welcome to term 4.
My first step was to try and assemble a team who take control over all of the keying and rotoscoping for Ehab, so we could meet our fast approaching deadline. I spent a large part of my week off e-mailing, calling and trying to communicate with my crew in Vancouver and to try and get things started, and I gotta say though it’s a bit harder when you’re a province away — it’s totally manageable! I started by reaching out to all of my instructors and the department heads, trying to see if they had any more available students willing to work, and after a week of e-mails, phone calls and screaming into a pillow, I finally had my answer, the oh-so-wonderful, Raymond Corbett.
Ray is back at VFS, and works in the 3D Animation & Visual FX department. After speaking to him, he gleefully agreed to come on board and help us find some students who would be able to do our keying for us. I was spending the afternoon with my friend, Steven Davies, who is currently in his 4th term of 3D Animation, when he told me that he heard Ray was looking for students who could help with keying. I jumped at the opportunity to work with Steve, knowing he’s a dedicated, talented and passionate worker and asked Ray immediately if he and his classmate Jagdeep Saggu could come on board. He thought they were the perfect team to bring on board, and we were ready to go!
We knew we had some tricky footage, but we weren’t quite aware of all of the issues. The hues of the pants, and the transparency of the shirt were causing them to disappear when they used Nuke to key them out, so they had to do everything shot by shot, and a lot of extensive rotoscoping.
About a week after we handed the footage over to our team, Ehab and I went over to the 3D campus for an update from Ray, Steve and Jagdeep, and we were very pleased with what we saw.
They had worked night and day, sacrificing their own projects to finish our shots, and they had produced some incredible work. There were a few slip ups here and there, but Ray quickly corrected them, reassured us and gave us the opportunity to work with a truly amazing professional, and it was a fantastic learning experience overall.
Then came the infamous shot 21… When we shopped and concocted our vomit, we made the mistake of using pea soup, forgetting that it would disappear in the green screen! When they got to that shot, they found that no matter what they did, there was no way around it, so we needed to re shoot some vomit and fast.
On a sunny Saturday, we set up a mini production studio at our EBM Campus with our decorative lamps, black sheets, garbage bags and our new formula for orange vomit, and we got to work. Stevevolunteered to “vomit” while Jagdeep filmed and Sandra and I squirmed from the sounds.
While the keying was already an incredibly long process for both Steve and Jagdeep, this was just another task they offered to take on and I can’t express how much I appreciate all of your hard work guys!
When we started keying the footage, it was insinuated that this was a job that a production house would probably decline due to the degree of terribleness of the lighting, and we’ve now finished, and we have some excellent shots that work seamlessly into our final product. We couldn’t be happier and thanks to the team at 3D and all of their hard work!
As we delved further into term 4, we were winding down with the visuals and were able to start focusing on getting our ADR down and our soundtrack finished up!
On the suggestion of our interaction designer, Nick Lenko, we enlisted the help of the very talented, Ben Ozga, a VFS Sound Design graduate, and brother of our fellow EBMer, Daisy Ozga to help us with our ADR Session.
We met in early August, with our lead actor, Brennan MacGregor and our director Michael Chase, and journeyed as Brennan would say “…from terrified, to terrified, to dead.”
Working with Ben was a wonderful experience. He was able to walk into a studio he’d never been in before, set everything up in a half hour and get us going. He explained everything to Brennan and the rest of us, letting us know what he was doing along the way, and it was awesome to get to see the sound board in action!
We started simple with a few “breath” takes to get Brennan into the mood, and then started working on his lines. Luckily enough for us, this film has very little dialogue, so he quickly nailed that, and we were able to move on to the more complicated stuff.
….And wouldn’t you know, puking on microphone is just as challenging as puking on camera! We had to do the take a few times, but it was a lot of fun watching him, watch himself and trying to match the acting with the voice, but he’s a star and pulled it off like a pro — Great work Brennan!
Last but certainly not least, we had to recreate the scene where Joseph offers himself to C’Thulhu and gets devoured. To create the perfect terrified scream was a bit of a challenge, we really wanted to recreate the feeling of Joseph being eaten alive, and as hard as it was for him to do it in front of a green screen, here we were in a dark sound studio.
We tried a few different styles and a few different lengths and eventually found our happy medium — a mix of angst, fear and sheer terror. It took a couple of tries to make sure he didn’t go too loud but we got it and I can’t wait to see it with the film with the soundtrack!
Well that’s it for this round, catch ya’ll next time!