Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Catching up: PreVis composition examples

Random Initial Idea

This was the first idea I had for the fully fledged storyboard while I was being briefed. I know this is subject to drastic change over the course of the project, but I just wanted to note this down somewhere.

Like with my Space presentation, I hope to play some kind of musical piece over the storyboard as it plays. Something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZJDNSp1QJA

The scene opens up with a closeup of a wooden arm laying on a workbench of sorts before a frail, elderly hand picks up it. Invisible cut to a view of an elderly gentleman holding the rest of the wooden figure as he pops the arm in place at the shoulder using a steel ball-bearing. Brief close-up of the marionette's face. Although no facial features have been carved into it, the natural wooden grooves and notches resemble a smiling face. He smiles and chuckles to himself as he lifts up the stringed-up handle which was previously out of view and makes the small wooden figure dance for a few seconds before leaving his workroom. Cut to an inside view of the shop window looking out to the Victorian street as he hangs the marionette up on display along with many other marionettes. He's a toy maker and it becomes apparent that he makes marionettes for a living.

A few seconds later, a little girl stops by the window. Her eyes light up at the same simplistic-looking marionette that was put up for display. As she leave the view of the camera to enter the shop off-screen, the picture fades to a scene, of the girl happily playing with the puppet, making it dance, walk and pretending that it can fly. Another fade, this time to a scene of the puppet from inside the girl's bag. There's a gaping hole in the fabric beneath it and it falls through and onto the wet pavement. Pan to the view of the little girl and her mother walking away down the street.

Fade-transition the background to the puppet being inside a glass case, the background now the Victorian History & Culture section of a museum. After all the years gone past, the acculturation of dirt and dust, particularly over its previously featureless wooden face to look like a sad face, has gotten the best of him. One of the ball-bearings on his shoulder is rusty and almost falling off. Gradual pan out from the puppet in the foreground so that we see a museum security guard in the background turn off the museum lights. After the door closes, the puppet's head turns towards it and away from the camera, invisible cut in the middle of the motion to give a view of the puppet's dirt-ridden, miserable face.

Cut to a view of the puppet's broken shoulder as it takes a hold of its limp arm and pops it off, the jagged, broken joint spring in the ball bearing coming along with it. Cut to a view of the lock from slightly above as it pokes the wiry spring inside, picking the lock before the door opens. Cut to a view of the wooden floor beneath the pedestal upon which the glass case sits, followed by the puppet falling limply to the floor along with its handle which falls just beside him. He gets up wearily and dusts himself off before walking off camera. Cut to view of the back of the puppet as he wanders off towards a series of glass shelves containing various Victorian homely appliances and decorations. Pan upwards away from the marionette to a view of these shelves.

We cut to a view from the very back of one of the bottom shelves, behind the glass and the aged items therein. We pan along with the pace at which the marionette walks as various Victorian objects pass the camera by as the marionette looks about and gases at what was once familiar to him, now sealed forever in transparent prisons. The camera and the marionette halt as a square object fills the lower side of the camera, the puppet's gaze fixated on it for a moment before wandering up to it. It longingly places its shapeless, wooden hand upon the glass and gazes at the object before the camera cuts to a view of what the object is through the glass from the front. It's a small, dirty frame with a black and white photo in it. It's of the girl it was once owned by, along with her family behind her. We slowly pan inwards to the view of the girl, who is holding the puppet in her arms and smiling at the camera. Cut back to behind the frame as the puppet's head droops sadly. Cut to an aerial view of the puppet in the corridor of glass cases and slowly pan outwards, giving the audience an impression of just how small he is compared to the world. He sits down next to the frame in the case and lays there, motionless.

Fade to the same shot, but at daytime with all the lights on. We cut to a view of the Marionette's head from a profile view as a group of uniformed children come through to the corridor from the next room, presumably on a field trip from school. Cut to an overhead view of the group of children walking by before a little girl stop by, taking notice of the puppet. It's almost as if it's familiar to her. Cut to a full-body closeup of the puppet the the little girl takes the handle and lifts it up. Cut to a view of her putting it in her bag before running off to rejoin the group.

Fade to a view of inside a familiar workshop, the same one we saw at the start of the story. It's well-lit with electric lighting and moderately renovated with modern technologies. Gradual, continuous pan inwards as we see a middle-aged man hunkered over a model ship before the little girl enters the frame, holding up the puppet to him. He looks at it curiously for a moment before smiling, then turning around to look at something on his workbench. Invisible cut to a view from behind another square object in the frame as he looks at it, smiling: another photo frame. Cut to a view of the photo from the front. It's of the same elderly gentleman from the beginning of the story: his great, great grandfather, the toy maker.

Fade to a view at night and the little girl tucked up in bed and in her arms is the marionette, polished, fixed, cleaned and renovated, looking brand spanking new. Gradual pan inwards from the start of the scene towards the marionette and we get a clearer view of his face: the natural wooden grooves and notches on his face resembling a smile have returned. Fade to black.


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Environment Presentation

Uncanny Presentation

Final Textures Used

Final Matte Painting + Scene

Creative Partnership

Creative Partnership Unit 4

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Maya Final Piece V2 (@Phil. Critique, Please :D)

Here's the basic Maya scene without any Photoshop work done to do. I've done some heavy re-texturing in order to make it look a more aged and dirty. I've also dimmed the light somewhat and added an ominous red glow beyond the archway below. I hope to insert my framed posters in the foreground lining the walls as my matte painting if that would be viable.

Admittedly, the previous version did seem very rushed. I guess that was because I wanted to focus more on my essay. However, I've knuckled down and tried to  implement more detail into my Maya scene. Some critique would be most welcome!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Final Piece (Matte Painting, Process, etc.)

Final Piece:

Photoshop Bits:


Original Concept:

Textures Used:


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Blue Velvet (1986)

 Fig 1: Cover

                                                                                     Fig 2: All's well in suburbia
During the first sequence of Blue Velvet, we see a fireman waving at the camera, a policeman helping a group of children cross the street and we hear the lively chirps of birds in the backghround. This scene is almost like a dream of a perfect subhurban environment. We then see what truely lies beneath this tacky, artificial estate: crawling and scurrying insects in the undergrowth. This is the opening which sets the heart of the film on the audience tells us that beneath things that are beautiful, there can can lie things which horror us. Jaime N. Christley mentions on her review: “Cut and dried, Blue Velvet rolls together Lynch's two diametrically opposed, but indivisible, views of American life: One is the "white picket fences" fa├žade, the other its grimy, badly infected underbelly.” Christley and the film explain that the suburbs, a place often depicted as a utopian place where everything is perfect, are not all they seem. Lynch uses this concept to unnerve the audience and to great effect.

In comes the main character, called Jeffery, who finds a dead, rotten human ear in the undergrowth. Being the good boy that he is, he takes it to the police station and recalls the events with J.D. Williams, a detective. He requests that he isn't to tell his discovery to anyone.
                      Fig 3: Sandy and Jeffery 
Later on in the film, he meets with a girl from college named Sandy who peaks Jeffery's natural curiosity when she mentions a woman who is significant enough to provoke the police to put her under investigation from afar. Jeffery makes the decision to spy on her. Dorothy, the woman under surveilance, works as a singer for the 'Slow Club', an isolated club near the edge of their town.
                                                                                                                 Fig 4: Dorothy
Much like other films of Blue Velvet's nature, the film depicts the metamorphosis to adulthood via rituals not familiar to us. In the film, the transformation to adulthood is participated in by Dorothy and there are no chains to hold her back.

What makes Blue Velvet unique is its use of lighting, visuals and its constant, shifting atmosphere. The year in which the film is set is apparently nonexistant as it continuously merges different time periods into one, visually stimulating soup, mentioned by Kevin Carr when talking about the visuals of David Lnch “Lynch shows us a bizarre mix of culture, fashion and techniques. The viewer is never 100% aware of when this is happening. It could be the 80s. It could be the 50s.” (Carr, <No Date>) Visually, the film is believable, yet so surreal at the same time. It constantly throws dream-like settings at the audience, yet somehow manages to keep them within the realm of reality. Take the scenes where blood is shown in a close-up view. At the same time we hear the strange audio of the very cells squirming and squishing around. The film is reminiscent of a nightmare.
                     Fig5: The abusive lover
Blue Velvet's outlook on the word is like as if it were viewed through the eyes and mind of a child and might be intentional since the main character is in his innocent adolescence years. Jaime Russell mentions in his own review that “Jeffrey and Sandy are babes in the woods who stumble into the very adult world of nightclub singer Dorothy (Rossellini) and her torturer-lover Frank (Hopper) - the big bad wolf in this Grimm fairy tale.” (Russell, 2001) He compares them to babies in this big, adult world which is quite accurate indeed. Jeffery doesn't quite know what to make of the display of sexual brutality from Frank against Dorothy as he hides in her closet; his virgin mind cannot cope with it.
As if in opposition, the apparency of Sandy's adolescence is much greater. Despite being younger than the main character, Sandy is still in view of the world being either good or evil. The film creates her to be the embodiment of childlike naivety.
Like many types of films like Blue Velvet before it, the film doesn't make it clear what the moral is. Crime and drugs lord over the town, yet authority in the police is apparent, too, but are corrupt through the Detective. Even at the end of the film, the viewers are not given any closure as to whether the crime and corruption are resolved.



The Shining (1980)

Fig 1. Cover

     Daniel Kubrick, known for his precision in film-making and perfectionism, took the making of The Shining to a whole new level. He put his actors through rigorous, numerous scene takes and forced them to do otherwise unpleasent things so that they could act in such a way that would convince the audience. Shelley Duvall, the actress who played Jack's weary and squirrely wife, was forced, by Kubrick, to do over one hundred takes of the same scene. He also made Nicholson eat cheese to give him a feeling of repulsion. This result of this quality of merticulousness has resulted in a brilliantly polished and frightening movie, especially through the use of music and audio, the use of significant images; one such where we see a lift full of blood open and spill into the following corridoor, the image of a beautiful women turning into a rotting, elderly women in the arms of Jack, and finally the all famous depiction of Jack's manical face poking through a splintered hole in a door.

                               Fig 2. (Corridors) 

     This film is teeming with various references and each noment of the movie is filled by Kubrick's technique of vague implication of madness through the use of set design and lighting such as the lights in the hotel, the hotel's bathrooms, while clean, give a cold, unatural feeling, and the tall, leering hedges of the hedgemaze. It enhances the idea that, combined with Jack's insanity, being trapped inside of spaces for a while can drive us to cabin fever, which is what Roger Ebert says to us in his review online. “The movie is not about ghosts but about madness and the energies it sets loose in an isolated situation primed to magnify them.” (Ebert, 2006) The constant visuals of distorted perspective add to the theory that the protagonist turned antagonist, Torrance, is going insane. Throughout the film we see Jack talking with spirits (Fig3), but this could also be the film's way of telling us that he is going mad with hallucinations. Again, Ebert explains this in more depth. “Yes, it is possible to understand some of the scenes of hallucination. When Jack thinks he is seeing other people, there is always a mirror present; he may be talking with himself. “ (Ebert, 2006) 

                                                                                                        Fig 3. (Talking with apparitions

     The hotel itself is built upon a Native American burial ground, which is perhaps where this age-old trope comes from. The hotel is subsiquently haunted by the spirits of the angered dead. This is shown when we see Jack talking to apperitions. As Jack walks into the theatre, it's almost as if he's wandering into the hotel's epicentre of darkness: its heart or maybe even Hell its very self.
     Throughout the movie, it isn't fully clarified if its either his own insanity that builds up or whether its the hotel seizing him by the soul. The hotel's former caretaker, Grady, who was driven to insanity and murdered his entire family with an axe, often visits Torrence to try and convince him to do the same thing. The evil of the hotel is suggested to have always had a presence there as suggested by the caretaker's jeer: "You have always been the caretaker."

     The question that The Shining seems to be portraying is this: Are all men capable of such evil? Death is not the end for us all, as suggested by the film's final scene of the camera panning into a black and white photograph of the outlook's staff with Torrence in the centre as the caretaker, almost as if he has become a part of the hotel itself. Kubrick has a knack and a fondness for always keeping questions unanswered; to let the audience figure out what comes next. It's something which frustrates us, but Kubrick does it brilliantly.



Sunday, 8 January 2012

@Phil or anyone else...

We return to college on the 9th on Monday, right?

The Uncanny: Final Concept Scene

Used a combination of Photoshop and traditional pencil and paper.

I feel as though the posters really help bring about that 'something's not right here' feeling. :D

Maya Work-a-thon 9000

All the Maya stuff I did over the Christmas holidays.