Hello everybody at CG TALK! It is a real deal for me to be asking for advice to the most talented artists in the business!

My intention here is that my little expermient can benefit other filmakers with similar problems, and similar dreams…

Two years ago, I wrote a Sci-fi script for a seven minute short I had in mind for some time. It was kind of orwellian, dealing with social alienation, individual dispair, and some of the old technology vs humans premise that’s around in films and literature since the 20’s. (even earlier)

It had tons of cinematic and technical challenges, because it was soposed to be sort of a Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” but with new technology.
The movie is Black and white, soundless (dialog is made on inter titles just like in silent pictures) and depicts dark characters against a decaying urban setting.

My idea was to shoot characters in front of a blue screen and incorporate the city as a c.g. element.

Well, as weird as it could sound, I managed to win a Colombian Goverment grant for short production (I live In Colombia, more exactly, Bogota) and was able to hire the best DP around, rent a huge studio and a Sony CineAlta HD camera (F900),
and shot the god damn thing…
Now, I have almost a Terabyte of DPX files and a huge task over my shoulders. I don’t have a nickle left (beacause the grant was only for production) so I have to do my own post.
My intended workflow is as follows:

Model, texture, light and animate the C.G. city
Track the camera
Arrange every C.G. element with the real world camera info.
Render out The C.G Plates
Remove Blue Screen
Compose C.G. with real footage
Export to targas, tiff’s or cineaon’s for 35mm Blowup
See it at theaters! (Got a prearrangment with a theater chain!)

So… What is the problem?

That real life is not like the movies and never anything is easy!
The C.G modelling part is taking forever, but it is almost done. The software I chose to work with is 3D Studio Max.

I am having some problems with the tracking part, because I started using Boujou and Matchmove, and neither one got me right tracking. I used before both these programs on other proyects and they seemed to work just fine. But here, with my HD 1080P sequences…they just went crazy and gave me very erratic results. A friend told me that the thing was that my shots were fixed shots and those programs are designed for complicated hand held shots. So, not very convinced by my friend’s info, I made the tracking with the 3DStudio internal tracker. And to tell you the truth, the results don’t satisfy me at all.
The characters Do seem to walk on the horizon and all, but the Lens never seems right. HELP PLEASE!

1.Do I have to use traditional artistic perspective theory to manualy track down the camera?
2. Or stick with the max Solution?

Well, i’m just on this fase of the post. I imagine that I will have millions of other problems later on.

I am planning to do all the compositing on Discreet combustion 4 and remove the blue screen with it’s internal chroma keyer. I don’t now if I have to use my DPX sequences with the LOG to linear option…should I?
HERE is one of my greatest doubts…The project is intended for output for film and DVD… What is the correct workflow? Should I remove the chroma key converting the color space of my files to linear?..OR SHould I color correct and key in log?..How should I Export the final edit for the 35mm blowup?.. Is it true that Gollum wasn’t C.G, and was really Peter Jackson on a diet? What the F*&$·&! should I do!! i’m lost here.

IF anyone out there can give me a hand in anyway I wil be forever greatful (and of course will be compensated on the film’s credits)

At this point i’m insecure of the technical choices i’ve made, and want to see other perspectives on the postproduction.

How do I do to never clamp or degrade my footage or plates?

Wich file type is better for this kind of rendering? (The C.G. elements)

I thank you for taking the time to read this long and bizzare PLEDGE, and hope that some of you talented artists can help me.

Overall, I would want to share with you guys out there, that the biggest lesson i’ve learned doing this proyect, is that risking yourself for your passion…risking yourself for your dreams is the only way in life to be happy.

THANKS AGAIN. Good luck!



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