That's right! Real, realtime, new news! Next Monday I will head overseas for the 2008 Cannes Film Festival! THIS is why I have been such a blog slacker lately. When I traveled to the festival in 2004, it was mostly for fun. This time, I will be representing a film that I have really been working really hard on. The film is LOOP by Pericles Lewnes.
Now I know I have plugged this film before, but since then, Pericles has been generous enough to let me go to town with visual effects... and I have! I have gone rotoscope-crazy (click the images for the full-sized version and a clickable slide show)!
For those of you who do not know what rotoscoping is, I'll put it like this: it's like tracing, only you trace over every single frame of a movie (by the way, video is roughly 30 image frames per second, meaning one 8 minute scene (which each still above represents) contains about 48,000 images...)
Now, I didn't do all of the inky, graphic novel-looking stuff by hand. Most of that was automated (most of it- though I might add that "automated" does not necessarily mean "easy"). What I did do frame-by-frame was trace over the "real people" to cut them out of the graphic novel-looking background or vice-versa. There are usually MUCH easier ways to do this- typically involving keying out some shape or color (think bluescreen), but the scenes were not set up that way when the film was shot, so I had to do it all by hand. Yes, my hand hurts.
I will dedicate an entire posting to the art of digital compositing at some point, but for now, the most important thing is LOOP is playing at the Cannes Film Festival and I am happy to represent it! I am very proud to be part of the team that put this film together. Pericles has done an amazing job to pull off an independent film worthy of attention and I hope it receives a lot of it at Cannes.
A little over a year ago, now, Pericles and I competed in the prime time disaster that was On the Lot (think American Idol for film directors). He had posted a question to the forum asking if anyone knew how to do 3D animation and if they thought they could make a helicopter. He had no budget, but I saw it as a great learning opportunity. So I taught myself Maya. Which is insane, but yes, I did it (incidentally, it is now one of my favorite programs). It took me a while to do, but I modeled the helicopter, textured it, and composited it into the scene:
(The Loop section of this video starts at about 1:17 into it)
Pericles and I have never met in person. We have never even spoken over the phone. Despite physical obstacles, we have managed to pull off some pretty slick visual effects using e-mail, snail mail, ftp, trust and probably some sort of strange psychic something or other. I can't wait to see it on the big screen!