"The Rescue" Short Film


#1

Film is now “complete” (they never really are truly complete)

>>> http://www.studiotacitus.co.uk/tr.html


Hi everybody,

The crazyness continues… 2007 was a mad year. I jumped project twice…two things were put on hold (but had had huge amounts of work on them). Those two things were “Errans Alba” and “Servus”. “Errans Alba” had knocked the stuffing out of me and once the screening was over I had a brief rest and round about May / June time I started to work a lot on what was is be my 6th film “Servus”…that work went on all the way up to December 2007 and a four minutes have been made.

On the 20th of December 2007 however I jumped again (by accident) to start up work on a my 7th animation.

I had been looking at a whole bunch of stuff in the topic at the top of the animwatch forum (the Film Discussion section) (which is a great section in fact the entire forum is / was great), I saw the new Wall-E trailer and then I saw the stuff from Studio AKA (which I was seriously impressed by) I sat there thinking “holy crap, these characters are so very basic and yet extremely extremely nice and stylised”. I was very taken by it and well instantly influenced to start up a new file in Cinema 4D.

I created a character which I hope is not a rip off of Marc Crastes characters (I don’t think it is, but like I say its very influenced by what I saw)

I basically went back to the roots that they teach you and push you to do (rightly so) at college on doing a walk cycle. Its something that I seem to avoid (don’t know why because I enjoyed doing this one)

Some stills from it.


#2

Michael,

You have an eye for dramatic lighting, and sense of scale. Have you considered using color in your work? If only a subdued palette, or monochromatic. Black and white has a look, and is a great foundation for lighting telling the story without the aid of color… Just wondering if you’ve considered a limited palette to add a slight additional layer of environment?

The masters of painting would often paint in black and white, then layer the color over to give that luminescent quality…

Or even try working in B/W, then processing the image later, like a doutone, or tritone, etc. which can give a richer look than straight black and white.

Just a thought…

Joe


#3

Thanks Joe,

Well its funny you should bring that up, I’m always up for experiments, but, the problem with me (and its either a curse or a blessing) is that I have conflict in my head on some of my ideas…and this area (monochromatic) is very much one of those areas. I have indeed done a lot of experiments with colouring black and white if you visit here below you can see two of them…

http://lorddowswell.deviantart.com/gallery/

As you can see there also, theres ones where I’ve gone in the colour balance and done -15 or -20 on the black on white image, which gives it a sort of a dirty black and white look (which i dont know how i feel about still…lol)

I like the look on the blue, but, I’m not convinced that it should be something that should go over an entire film…I don’t know, that’s a very interesting question, I know that they did do a monochromatic version of Metropolis that I can remember feeling that I preferred the black and white. I think that maybe its nice to have a monochromatic still but maybe not a entire monochromatic film…but…I’m honestly not sure.



#4

JANUARY 5TH STATEMENT:

This thread is going to continue on (no abandonment on this one), there may be long gaps of no reports on the film though. But I hope to go all the way through to the finished film here.



#5

I have been a bit worried that its too much like studio aka…but…It’s maybe different enough for me to be ok, I’m not sure…but
there is probably a whole line of characters by lots of different artists that are long cylindrical things with peg legs that have been done across the decades.

It’s one of these things where I’m thinking “is this TOO similar” and “well…Craste must have been influenced by something like this too…he MUST have been.” and “oh god…have I just ripped off one of thee most respected filmmakers out there???”

At any rate, there are things that are different about this…I shoot in 1.25:1 and Jo Jo seems to be in 2.01:1 (that is of course he may be cropping like they do with Super 35mm (but he may not have done that)) Ever since I started to pay a bit more attention to some of Stanley Kubricks films and some other films (Citizen Kane, Metropolis) I wanted to to shoot in the ratio that was close to where they were at with their ratio. I noticed that Kubrick could get a tremendous sense of open space and height with large interior locations.

There is something also extra special about sitting in a cinema with a screen that is 1.33:1 or 1.25:1. Of course its probably a decision that’s going to cause endless amounts of hassle as a lot of things are 16:9 and 2.35:1 but I know in my heart that it’s the right thing to do.

My main character also has eyes with pupils and my animation has no textures.


#6

In terms of the aspect raitios, some were limits of the choices available at the time the films were made. Movies used to be close to 4:3, until television came out, and become more popular, drawing audiences away from the theater to watch Milton Berle and Sid Ceasar. In response, films began being to release in WIDEscreen, to set the experience apart from TV… You got Cinemascope, and the varieties of widescreen aspect ratios.

16x9 is close to some of the current widescreen film formats, and built into HD, so you could still work with some other widescreen format, and deal with the letterboxing strips, or just go 16x9 so for a large chunk of content coming in the future.

You could have a stylized older aspect ratio for a chosen effect or atmosphere, but another question would be what the directors would have chosen if they had the choice. Widescreen typcially allows for more staging of depth… Foreground figure, with characters or background staggered deeper in the frame. With more horizontal room, you can have separation between the characters so their outlines read better. You can overlap in 4:3, but you lose the readability of the silhouettes…

Joe


#7

Hey Joe,

Actually, I think I know what you mean there, very interesting read Joe. It is true what your saying there I think…with widescreen we are forced to look at the story telling elements more because we wont see as much environment. This means that far less environment is shown, wiether that be more rocks in a dessert at the bottom of the frame or more sky at the top of the frame. We will be forced to look at what our characters are doing and our eyes wont deviate away from them. This is of course is apposed to filming in 4:3…if you stand back with the camera for your shots in 4:3 and put on a 21mm lens.

4:3 = more environment giving the viewer a choice to look at more ground and sky which means they may not look at the characters the first time round.

2.35:1 = less environment, forcing the viewer to look at the characters.

BUT, in 4:3 it can also mean that more figure is in the shot too (when you think about it), because people are vertical creatures…we can see peoples arms and hands a lot more in 4:3, in 4:3 we can see them in full view more often I feel in [size=2]medium shots (if shot well). we can do this in 2.35:1 as well, BUT…it means we have to pull back a lot further and so peoples heads might be smaller.

Human Head

A human head for example would fit into a 4:3 shape very well.

Human Body

Two Human bodys walking side by side creates a invisible square.

Wide angle lenses

I put very strong emphasis here though on the fact that you have to shoot with wide angle lenses like Kubrick here for my above theory to work.

[/size]


#8

Good points… aspect ratio and framing can have quite an effect on the storytelling. Framing for some square format medium format still photography is interesting, in how the frame is filled. It can be a more controlled focused view, more like a spotlight… not as much area for the eye to wander.

A factor to consider, is the first impression people get too… If they have been visually trained (the public) to think and view things in certain ways… widescreen might be perceived as more “movie-like” or cinematic, compared to TV. You have to weigh sometimes the odds of people making the most obvious impression, or the more obscure one. Not to always go after the “mass market” approach, but in Occum’s Razor, people may make the most common assumption first, which then colors their viewing, and it’s hard to undo that.

I have had the case of making (what I thought) were additional layers of meaning, but 99% of people take the obvious meaning. It’s nice having the extra layers of richness, but it’s a consideration to have of “what will I think if most people think X about my movie… will it be getting across the messege I want, or should I build a better mousetrap?”

If a good chunk of people just think “that looks old fashioned” if that works as part of the story, great. If that hurts the story you are trying to tell, you have to weigh the value of an approach…

Interesting though to be thinking of things on that level though!

Joe


#9

Hehe, I have to say this is a very enjoyable conversation. It is one of the things I love to debate with people…lol

Well the thing for me is that I love 4:3 because I want to have wide shots that show the scale of characters walking next to large structures. I don’t mind having my characters being far away from the camera, because I want the viewer to get a feel for the environment. I don’t mind if there’s large areas of negative space, I feel it adds something to it…it’s a bit like IMAX if you’ve been to a IMAX cinema you’ll notice that it nearly covers your peripheral vision (a idea that I think is wonderful).

So for me its 4:3 all the way. However, its not going to be easy for me, because it seems that 4:3 cinemas are few and far between, they are probably found in cities somewhere I would imagine, and run by die hard fans of the old movies who show the old movies. TV’s like you say have gone all 16:9.
[size=2]
But I just don’t want to see 4:3 die out, I love this ratio a LOT, I really REALLY don’t want to see it die.

Widescreen and well I don’t know here…I’m not 100% sure on this one, but I think wide screen was initially created with one thing in mind…and that was to make more money, because you can fit more seats into the cinema this way. I hate to say that though, but I think it might be true.

[/size]Occum’s Razor?

are you talking about this film here?
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0216526/



#10

[QUOTE=Lord Dowswell][size=2]…snip…Well the thing for me is that I love 4:3 because I want to have wide shots that show the scale of characters walking next to large structures. I don’t mind having my characters being far away from the camera, because I want the viewer to get a feel for the environment.>>

Yes, I see for vertical objects, 4:3 favors maximizing the hieght!

>>I don’t mind if there’s large areas of negative space, I feel it adds something to it…it’s a bit like IMAX if you’ve been to a IMAX cinema you’ll notice that it nearly covers your peripheral vision (a idea that I think is wonderful).>>

Negative space is good… I’ve seen imax movies, and while they are more squarish, they are so big, they fill you field of view!

>>So for me its 4:3 all the way. However, its not going to be easy for me, because it seems that 4:3 cinemas are few and far between, they are probably found in cities somewhere I would imagine, and run by die hard fans of the old movies who show the old movies. TV’s like you say have gone all 16:9.>>

You could just do a letterbox for 4:3… 4:3 image area with veritcal side “letterboxing”… it’s what they do on some HD stations with things that are 4:3… sometimes they add black side bars…

>>But I just don’t want to see 4:3 die out, I love this ratio a LOT, I really REALLY don’t want to see it die.>>

Well, even though US broadcast TV signal is switching to HD, there are still 4:3 sets around (converter boxes) AND a lot of computer monitors are still 4:3, so 4:3 will be around for quite a while…

>>Widescreen and well I don’t know here…I’m not 100% sure on this one, but I think wide screen was initially created with one thing in mind…and that was to make more money, because you can fit more seats into the cinema this way. I hate to say that though, but I think it might be true.>>

I think “more money” was relative after declining ticket sales after TV came along. With viewers staying home to watch the new invention of TV (RIGHT IN their OWN living rooms!!!) studios looked to up the ante and give the viewers something TV couldn’t… a wider view… which is closer to human vision two eye extend the viewable areas wider… the brows above cut into vertical height, and the space between the eyes is overlapped with the field of view to create more of a rectangle than a square… Not to say widescreen is necesarilly BETTER, just that there is a connection to the human field of view. Also, books and magazines have been quite popular for a while and they generally have vertical pages, so different shapes have their strengths!

>>Occum’s Razor?

are you talking about this film here?
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0216526/
>>

Sorry, two Cs… no, just the principle of Occum’s Razor…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam’s_Razor
"This is often paraphrased as “All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best.”

What I was getting at, is as an artist, you (we) have all sorts of layers of motivation and meaning, but often, when viewed by others, they only get a fraction of the presentation, or take away what they will… their own interpretation of what they have seen.

I would modify what I mean by Occum’s Razor for you case to be, not that the most common reaction is “the best”, but just the most likely… see? Some people would just take at face value 4:3 was that older format, and consider no further reasons to the choice. Not to try and scare you away from 4:3, just to say, don’t be too surprised if some people don’t appreciate 4:3. : )

So while you might choose 4:3 because of stylistic, compositional, and historic reasons, a chunk of viewers may just think “oh, he makes computer animations, but is still using the old fashioned TV look…” Some people CHOOSE to shoot 8mm film, grainy and blurry, for artistic effect, and that is so old, it appears to be a concsious artistic choice to most viewers (you can’t get super 8 film at the local store like you could 20 years ago… it’s special order now…). But if I made a movie shot on VHS, people might just assume I didn’t have a good camera and just used something I borrowed from the Salvation Army. It SHOULDN’T change people’s perception of my movie… it’s the same story. But, sometime the medium is the message…

I think 4:3 is fine, and especially when chosen for thematic reasons. The only thing I want to point out (from experience) is the chance we take in showing our work to the public, we then lose control, and people take what they will from viewing it with their own experience. For some, 4:3 will just be “that old format”… they may not get the layers of reasoning, but that’s ok too… And it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do what you need to do! Some folks will “get” the 4:3, and some won’t…

I guess it’s sort of like when Speilberg filmed Schindler’s List in black and white… it COULD have been color, but, he chose BW… in hindsight, it probably couldn’t be anything else… but you know there’s always someone who would have made it in color…

For me, since I got an HD set, I can FINALLY see my DVDs full screen, without the letterboxing on most films… just like I saw them in the theater. I hated the letterbox stripes on my 4:3 set. So now, I would probably make most of my new works 16x9, to fill my frame, and more commonly, the TV sets of more people.

But that’s just my choice, I certainly won’t try to convince you a circle is a better shape than a triangle! If nothing else, the creative fields are based on the variety of approaches, and that’s the thing that keeps us from all seeing cookie cutters of our own work, and the same work over and over…

If you have a passion for 4:3 compostions, go for it!

: )

Joe


#11

hey Michael
I’m gonna avoid the screen ratios topic there as it gives me headache enough at the best of times hehehe!
I’m loving the styling of these shots. That 2nd image at the top is amazing - it has such an awesome feeling of scale with fairly simplistic elements too. The characters have a really nice style about them. I’ve seen the monochromatic lighting style before and the character style but never both together personally so nice work! dont worry too much about ripping another style off visually - keep the story different and your laughing I think :slight_smile: Maybe a touch of bloom or something on the hotspots would enhance areas maybe?
do you have any animation tests of the characters as yet? walk cycles or something to get things rolling?
keep it up :slight_smile:
ant


#12

Hey Joe,

Exactly right, I couldn’t agree more, you touch on some subjects here that I’ve written about in the past, which I find very interesting, I wrote a thing once about how I / we have VHS tapes in this house that sometimes I put on, and some of the tapes are a very fuzzy looking, it was a Red Dwarf tape that I put in and got totally glued to to, because the story was so good and so funny. I’ve even seen films shot on mobile phone that are horrendous quality but have you sitting there immersed into it. So I do agree with you here on what your saying.

As for the ratio thing, it’s there as a choice for filmmakers and that is a good thing, I agree.

Thanks Anthony,

Really glad you like it, there will be some clips coming soon, but I want to record the foley for them though, so that they are at their best / most impact.


#13

This scene may or may not change, I’m not sure on the design of the enviorment for this, if I can get it better then its going to change.


#14

Interesting images… I personally feel they’re a little bit indescript as to where they are. Not sure if this is the intention or not though for the piece or those particular shots. again, nice lighting, really like the characters


#15

yeah, same thing was said to at another place, a friend of mine grabbed the first of that set and showed me how it could be much better, which was great. it really needed something.

So here’s what he sent

and heres how its been implimented into the actual thing. bare in mind that ive not decided on a hand rail yet…but I probably should have one. I’ve moved the camera and gone slightly wider again also.


#16

I really love the first few images in your first post, and I feel that you have yet to match their quality with the other shots you’ve posted.

Keep working at it though, I’m really looking forward to when I have some animation to look at.


#17

Thank you,

Yeah I know what you mean there, I reckon it’s always the case that you have certain shots or sequences that are a lot better than other shots or sequences in your movie, very tricky to get them all as good as each other…but we all want them to be and do try to get them to be. :slight_smile:


#18

Just got this angle on the scene.


#19

I know what you mean there!..you see the thing really is it’s a bottomless pit. Say for example we set up a scene in 4:3, then we decide to set up the same scene in 2.35:1… you’ll have to move the camera back to get that same 4:3 area of catchment INSIDE that 2.35:1 shape, and by doing that action, moving it far enough back, to get that…your creating more image at the sides…but you get further and further away from your characters. So if you leave it alone in 2.35:1 without moving back, then you have to sacrifice the height (or ceiling and floor in the frame) to be closer to the characters.


#20

Hi Micheal,

Another aspect to consider for some shots, is what camera movement can do. Part of the storytelling can be taking what could be basic, sequential shots, and sometimes combining them to reveal more to the viewer, without breaking/interrupting the viewer’s perception (Kubrick’s long shots…).

Having two shots combined into one, occassionally, like: A medium shot of the figures on the bridge, which moves to a change in framing as the camera swings up to show a slight tilt-down showing the figures in relation to the depth of the pit.

Not to go nuts with endless camera swooping for no reason… some hollywood blockbusters show swooping cameras just because they can… they go a little overboard sometimes, but with restraint, shots can be combined to reveal new information to the viewer.

That’s part of cinematic language that sets film apart from TV… The moving camera that combines two or more shots to reveal new information. TV often has static cuts because it’s a lot quicker to get the shot. Film will often have camera track laid, following the runner coming out of the building, then around the corner and down the street, as the camera raises to show the scale of the scene.

There has to be solid reasoning for the moves, but well-planned moves are a part of the cinematic style. For the ticket price, and the bigger budgets, people expect to see, even subconsciously, more complex shots than either multicamera sitcom switching, or just straight cuts. Not that you can’t tell a story with straight cuts, or must have moves for the sake of moves, but there can be a reason for moves to reveal new info.

Perhaps a more restrained approach would be even dolly shots…linear pullbacks or pushins, instead of arcing camera sweeps. Say the robots on the ledge, then the camera pulls back to a wider frame to show the depth of the pit. With an ease-in - ease-out on the camera path, it’s a nice touch…

Either pullbacks, or “crane shots” could work with either aspect ratio… wide, 4:3… Some of the questions on how aspect ratio impacts the information presented in the frame, could also/either be questions of camera moves to some extent.

The original Star Wars had two shots of leaving to atack the Death Star, X-wings approaching en mass, then a separate shot of them heading towards the Death Star. But for reasons of limits of studio space and the motion control camera systems of the time, they couldn’t do a fly by. The newer version combines the two shots in one new digital shot… the ships approach, fill the screen, then the camera pans to follow as they head away, revealing in the distance, the Death Star… Not super-swoopy of a shot, just basic shot planning and combining two shots into one.

Just some thoughts on the question of ways to show the depth of the pit, for instance. Keep up the good work!

Joe