Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Butterfly character silhouette...



Firstly, AHHHH!!! i've been so overun by work lately, but like Phil said, the way to eat a elephant is slice by slice. So i've been trying to get on with my essay, doing some in-depth research and notes, which isn't leaving me for much time to do the creative development side of things. So i decided to take some time out of my essay research and just start an idea for one of my characters. This is the butterfly that will lead my butterfly hunter into a trap. I want to make her elegant but powerful in posture. The butterfly hunter will be after her because she is so beautiful and elegant; he will want her for his collection. I decided to do a silhouette version of her, just to get the basis of her shape and posture. I added the background for decorative efect rally, but it also allows me to see what sort of style i will go for in my animation. I've got a feeling i will struggle with he character dsign, but i'm surrounded by loads of helpful books and information, plus we have a guest lecturer tomorrow, so hopefully things should be fine...

Monday, 22 February 2010

Rope...



Whilst watching Rope, by Alfred Hitchcock today, i took down some notes of interesting things that i noticed during the film. I've also borrowed the film off Phil and will hopefully watch it for a second time tonight, as i'm using the film as a comparison to Transformers in my essay. Here were some interesting things i noticed whilst analysing/watching the film:

- No editing, using a staged set, with props that were well positioned. Particularly the chair at the end which was where Rupert sat with the gun. Alfred Hitchcock was truely a master of preparation and filmamking.

- The editor was William H. Ziegler, i'll be interested to see if i can find any information or quotes from this guy about the film.

- The film was deemed a failed experiment. However, to me it works as a masterclass of work, to be added to the list of Hitchcock films.

- His timing is impecable, one part that particularly caught my eye was when Rupert began to suspect something and the song in the piano instantly changed to a more tense composition.

- His camerawork, in terms of positioning and angles is truely inspirational. Having the camera set up so we just see the characters shoulder and right through to the hallway, with dialogue going on over the top, was pure Hitchcock and it reminds me why he has become one of the, if not the, greates directors of all time.

- The metronome was an amazing part of the film, almost ticking down like a clock or a bomb, to Rupert questioning Philip. When the questioning got more intense, Rupert increased the speed of the metronome which added to the intensity of the scene.

- The dialogue and sound were particularly interesting, overlapping as normal conversations would, unlike more modern films where people say one line at a time.

- My expectations after hearin about this film were that it would be a bit of a disaster, and i would struggle to sit there and watch the film. However, i absolutely loved the film, everything about it was magical and if i'm honest i didn't really notice that there wasn't any cuts. At times my eyes did feel a little srained though.

- The light from the sign at the end works really well. This is at the point where Rupert comes back to get what he had 'forgotten' and the flashing lights make the scene so dramatic and intense. This is another example of Hitchcock's impecable timing.

- One scene that did interestme was the scene where Rupert was describing how he would kill David. Usually we would have a montage scene, cutting between the objects and the character's faces. Instead, Hitchcock makes this scene work by panning around the room and zooming into the object, and for me, this didn't feel any different to how an edited version would look.

Overall, i really enjoyed this film and i'm looking forward to watching more of Hitchcock's work because the only other scene i've seen from a Hitchcock film is the beginning of Rear Window, with that amazing camerawork.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Michael Bay... A really bad influence...



There are plenty of film directors, in the film industry, that are great examples of the preparation, timing and thought that should be put into films. Michael Bay, however, is a not one of them, no matter how successful he has been. Michael has become famous for his blockbuster hits like Pearl Harbour, Bad Boys and Transformers, but it is evident that the explosions and fast-pace action sequences are more important to him than the preparation of his films. Whilst doing my research, using articles, reviews and interviews, as well as audio commentary for Transformers i have identified that he doesn't like using storyboards, only pre-visualizations, because storyboard don't allow for fast-pace cutting. Improvisation is a word he loves to use, and that's how i'd describe his directorial approach, not much is planned, apart from what explosives and big military equipment he will use, and a lot of the filiming is done mainly on improvisation, ie. he relies on the crew and actors to get it right. Another problem i found with his directorial approach is his reasoning behind certain shots, often saying 'it's in there because i want it in there'. Originally, i wondered why critics were so harsh on Michael, after all he has had a lotof success. However, this quote pretty much sums it up for me, '[Bay says] I asked a well-known critic over lunch, why do i get so much shit?', he says [the critic], 'you made too much success too early. We build them up to tear them down. And, we got bored going after Jerry Bruckheimer.' And what did Micahel learn from this? 'Don't read the critics.' It's not to say that hs films have no purpose in the industry, because they wouldn't be so such big blockbuster hits if audiences didn't go and see them. To me, this shows that although we often deny the idea that audiences crave for bigger and better CG and visual effects, branded 'dumb' movies like Tranformers have the fun element that audiences seem to like. This film is evidently the polar oposite of such work as Hitchcock, comparing the two directoial approaches is a clear identification of how the industry has changed. Hitchcock's mastermind films are so detailed and prepared that he has become possibly the most famouse director, in comparison to Michael's improv style which is undeniably popular among modern audiences, which have gotten used to the fast-pace of the digital era. I've found quite a lot of information on Transformers and Michael Bay's crew, enough to start writing about in my essay. In particular, last night i watched the audio commentary and found out that the end fight scene is composed of 4 different locations, which shows how far editing has come, to give the impression that it was one city. Although,the pace it was moving at, people probably didn't know what was going on anyway...

Friday, 19 February 2010

Final Cut Pro Lesson 3...



So we had our third Final Cut Pro lesson on Tuesday and this time we were introduced to a new piece of software, Sound Track Pro, also part of the same Apple package. We started off by looking at the audio effects and transitions in Final Cut Pro, which were very limited. This is where Sound Track Pro came in to the equation, the equivalent of Adobe's Sound Booth. I've never used audio and sound software before, but the interface seemed fairly simple, and there was lots of ways of editing and creating sound or audio. Our task was to take a piece of footage from off the server and to give it a sound track over the top or edit the audio that was already with the clip. I chose some footage of a whale and put together a soundtrack using preset music and sounds available witn the software, It was fairly simple to understand, instead of editing video, essentially we were editing sound. I'm now looking forward to adding in the soundtrack for my own animatic.

Transformers Essay...



So i was having thoughts about my essay this week and after speaking to Phil, i've decided to write about Transformers instead of Elephant, but still in the context of audience expectations affecting the pace and narrative of films. Phil suggested comparing Transformers to Rope, which is a film without any edits and people often struggle to watch the film because of this idea of 'audience expectation'. In particular, i've been looking at reviews from Rotten Tomatoes which, with its rating of 57%, suggest the pace of the film is too fast for audiences to take in or understanding, leaving them in bewilderment. There are some really good quotes that i have already from some top critics and it seems that most of the were in agreement with each other. One thing that has interested me is how Michael Bay and his crew seem to perceive the audiences' expectations. Whilst watching numerous interviews on YouTube with Bay, the actors and his crew, there seems to be a big focus on the idea of explosions, big action scenes and fast pace action scenes. It's interesting however that this seems to be the biggest downfall, i almost feel as though they have treated the audience as CGI craving idiots that have no need for narrative or understanding of the narrative. For me, this is in some ways true, which could be proved by audiences being unable to enjoy watching films like Rope, which i haven't seen yet, but based on Phil's comments, it should be interesting. In this essay, i will be able to look at the development of editing from its early days, showing the context and rise of editing, as well as the growing acknowledgement of the importance of editors. I can get this information from The Cuting Ege documentary, resources on MyUCA and additonal books or articles i can find. I will then be able to bring in a film like Rope and compare it to the modernised editing techniques used in Transformers to fulfil the audiences' 'needs' and 'expectations'. I've already got some reviews for Transformers and i will start getting some for Rope as well. I will also need to ind some essays and artciles that evidence similar arguments and comparisons to the content of own essay. Gathering as much information as possible should give me everything i need to structure my essay correctly and keep a concise point, whilst using strong evidence and content.

Problem Solving... Uncanny Maya Scene...

Just a quick post to say the main parts my uncanny scene needs improving on, and what maya problems i had when creating the scene...

- My work came out darker on the university computers than my own laptop, but my laptop didn't seem to be able to handle the capacity of the scene after a while. ie. it was rning extremely slowly and wouldn't render the scene... I asked Alan about this and he said that unfortunately all computer screens are different so that was probably why it came out darker.

- I will need to learn how to use the 3D fog effect and add this to my scene because the Photoshop effect didn't give the image any depth and made it look quite flat as well as painterly, which wasn't what was required of me; this unit was about the environment and space, so creating depth is crucial. I'm going to speak to Sam about the 3D fog effect in Maya because he used it in his own uncanny scene.

- I will need to improve the lighting in my scene, particularly following the lighting in my concept art... I have already gonbe through this with Alan today, and it was quite clear how important the lighting is in a scene, and how big a difference it can make.

- I need to add a light to the torch, possibly a spotlight. In my origial scene i used Photoshop to create a light source coming from the torch and it looked pretty awful. I tried to create a light coming from the torch earlier today but it didn't seem to work, so i will need to see Alan about that.

- Phil mentioned in the crit that he wanted to see me try different camera angles and positins to ge the most out ofmy scene and the environment... I already tried a closeup of the wheelchair and torch toda and i feel it looks better than my original wide view image. As i start to make some more chages and improvements, i will try some different positions and angles to see what suits the scene best.

- Depth seems to be the biggest problem in my original scene. Phil mentioned that there isn't a clear sense of foreground, mid-ground and backgrund, they seem to be combined together creating a flat image... To create more depth, the lighting plays a huge role; by creating shadows off the trees and objects, we automatically get the sense of a 3D environment in oppose to my flat scene. I feel bringing the objects, the wheelchair and the torch, to the foreground like i did today also creates more depth because the foreground, mid-ground and background elements become more visible.

There are more improvements and changes that could be made to make this image, but i feel the whole pointof his resubmission is to ainly learn from any problems i had with the software, not to worry too much about make the image look 'perfect'...

Environment Resubmission - Lesson 1...



So i spoke to Alan in our Maya lesson today about how to improve the lighting in my uncanny scene, i wanted it to be similar to the concept art i developed for the project. There's still some more things i need to learn and improve on in this image but Alan was really helpful in showing me the different light sources to use for the lighting rig of the environment. He used a combination of spotlight, pointlights, directional light and ambient light to create more atmospheric environment, as well as giving it more depth. I've shown you two examples of the end product, and staright away you can start to see an improvement, in fact you can actually see the image unlike in my original attempt. I also remembered Phil mentioning in the crit that he would liked to have see a betterexploration of camera angles and positioning, so here i have taken his idea of bringing the camera close to and below the wheelchair. This also means that we are able to see the torch beter and it gives the image more of a foreground, mid-ground and background depth; when i add the backgroundin that is. I do like the camera closeup to the wheelchair because it feel quite intimidating, and i feel this will look better when i lear to create 3D fog and add that into the scene. I also want to have a light coming from the torch, which i tried to do using a spotlight, but this didn't seem to work, so i'll speak to Alan about that too.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Act 2 and 3 Finally Clicking...

So last night i had a bit of a bad night sleeping, mainly due to subconcious thinking about my act 2 and 3. When i wrote the post for my idea last night, i realised they were probably weaker than i had first thought. Waking up with a refreshed mind, after all that thought last night, it clicked this morning. I've had the idea of including the hunter painting whilst everything goes on through all the acts. I had the idea of cutting to him throwing paint onto a canvas, splatering it, whenever he kills an insect, or creates destructio. To me, this portrays the idea that everystory has more than one side to it. Essentially with this idea, we will be able to identify that what looks like destruction and pain to everyone, is seen as art and a masterpiece to the hunter, hunting is his hobby; pride and joy. In act 2, i have decided to have the insecs lure him into a trap where a net will capture him and hold him in the tree tops. during his struggle, i will cross dissolve to a bug restaurant which will be act 3. Here we will see a table surrounded by bugs with knives and forks. we see the insects then start to climb over the hunter's body which is on the table. we the pan acrosto the shadow on the wall of what is happening. Finally, as the bugs begin to eat him, we cut to the last bit of paint being splattered on the canvas. It will be red paint which runs down the canvas and drips to floor. i will then create a slow drip with the cho of the the hunter's screams over the top as it hits the ground and cuts to black... I feel this is must more refined than my previous post and is starting to come together nicely...


Monday, 15 February 2010

Final Story-Telling Idea Update...

Since my 2 posts on two different ideas, i have decided to go with Phil's idea and i have been refining the idea to make it work. So far i feel i have an strong idea for Act 1, an okay Act 2 which needs some refining to be sronger and a weak ending, mainly due to the fact that i'm not too sure how to bring the restaurant in at the end... so here's a breakdown of each act...

ACT 1: In Act 1 there is a short montage of shots establishing a bit about the Butterfly hunter, who collects insects in general. We start off in a room in his house full of his collection. A variety of close-ups and medium shots will show his collection (which will include distorted shots through jars, newspaper articles, framed insects etc), but also portray the sinister characteristics of the hunter. In this short montage i will keep the room dark, with strong use of lighting coming from the doorway and window to create shadows on the wall. In Act 1, i don't want to reveal my character, but to make the audience presume things about him. I will use the shadows on the wall to show him poking a needle into a bug, which when produced as a shadow will make him look bigger and much more dramatic. A lot of the focus in the background will be blurred when focusing on specific objects and i will show live insects, almost in fear of the character as he enters. When the character leaves the room, he will slam the door behind him which will lead onto Act 2 using a match-on-action along with a elipses because the next time will skip any dead time and jump straight to Act 2...

I like the idea of a montage because it allows for a lot of different shot types and camera angles to create some beatiful shots, and i think it makes the audience work harder in finding out who the character is. I feel it will be more effective because they will see how nasty and sadistic he truely is. I hope the montage will be similar to the title sequence in Se7en, except i will only have 15-20 seconds for mine...

ACT 2: In Act 2 we jump straight to the character going outside, after shutting his front door, which will be a match-on-action. In this scene we will see that the character is acualy a small old man, who uses a pogo-stick... this will be a contridctive view of the man compared to the montage which will show him as being quite big and powerful. In this scene we will witness a mass destruction in his woods (as he lives in a cabin), where the hunter carelessley hunts bugs and mercilessly catches them. The fear that these insects have of him will once again show his power and how evil he truely is. I feel this scene would work very well if it was presented quite theatrically, similar to a music like Sweeney Todd. I could go for a more 'looney' style like my original idea, but i don't think it would suit the sinister style of animation that i am going for...

At the moment i still think this act needs refining, i'm not as confident in desiging this scene as the one in Act 1 at the moment. I still don't think the idea is fully finished for this act and i'm still waiting for it to click...

ACT 3: In Act 3 i will have a twist, which will show the bugs/insects getting their revenge on the hunter. Unexpectedly, the bugs will capture the hunter. As of yet, i'm not sure whether the hunter will be back in his home and we see the bugs with needles in their hands in the shadow, similar to the shot in scene 1; or whether the bugs will catch him with a giant net in the woods. After this, however, we will cut to a restaurant full of bugs, we wil focus on the menu board which will have meals crossed out and replaced with"Chef's Special". We will then cut to a shot of the pogo-stick in the background and in a shadow on the wall we will see the insects starting to pull the cover off a tray, gathered around a table... This will then cut to black...

I feel this is the weakest act at the moment because like the second act, it just hasn't clicked yet. I feel the idea's there it's just not coming together at the moment. I feel the connection between, the chef's Special, the cut to the pogo-stick and the top being taken off the tray is enough to hint what is for supper without having to specifically show the audience...

At the moment this is definitely possible to do in the limit of a minute. I feel there is a great opportunity for some beautiful shots and i'm starting to like this less arbitrary idea. There's still some refining and work to do on the acts, but i'm sure Phil will have some helpful comments tomorrow...

Terminator 2 Continuity Error...



So we watched Cutting Edge today and i just felt it would be worth mentioning this continuity error in the film Terminator 2, as both James Cameron and some of his editors were presented to us in the documentary. For me, continuity errors are my forte, i live to find these types of errors in film, just so that i know the big boys in the industry aren't completely invulnerable. To be honest, i think my family have come to hate watching films with me because i sit there picking the film apart, but i suppose that's because i enjoy editing so much and can admire how much effort has gone into each scene. Anyway, check out the link below for the chase scene between the motorbike and the truck. If you skip to about 1 minute 50 seconds, you will see the truck being driven off the bridge, when it comes to contact with the ground, the windscreens are smashed and come out of the truck, but in the next cut, we see that the truck has glass in its windscreen again. I'm sure James Cameron and his team were kicking themselves when they saw this cut, but i suppose that's the problem with big budget films, they only have enough money to get it right once, other wise they have to put up and make do with what they have. That's not to say i didn't enjoy the film though, everyone knows it's an absolute classic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htpL9i5WSp4

Essay Topic...



I think i will write my essay on the film, Elephant, because i feel it is imporant when considering, directing and editing of a film, to establish the differences between mainstream film and independent films. For me, independent film gets much more lean way in what they can produce and have more of a chance to experiment, whereas mainstream film must adhere to the audiences' expectations. I feel using an independent film as my subject for analysis, will also allow me to bring in some writing about the differences between mainstream and independent film, which will show editing and directing more wholesomely than just representing the mainstream side of the industry. I will also need to carefuly look into the context of the subject for this essay, making sure i go back t its roots, before i talk about the film. This will give me a similar structure to my Ăšncanny essay, which showed the context of the Uncanny before introducing the film i was talking about and making a comparison...

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Sweeney Todd...



So after my post yesterday about ideas for making my character sinister and excentric, i decided to watch Sweeney Todd in my flat mate's room. If i'm honest, i was quite tired, so my full attention was on the film throughout, but i did see quite a lot of interesting, massacre scenes and i was impressed with Johnny Depp's acting as always. Although, Sweeney Todd seemed to be very gruesome and merciless, i feel this would be the perfect route for my Butterfly Hunter to go down, except instead of killing people, he hunts insects and bugs. The idea of a much a hated character creates a relationship between the audience the antagonist, even if it is a bad one. Two other characters spring tto mind, in recent films we have watched in class; there's the gangster from The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, and Frank Booth from Blue Velvet. I feel both these characters play a huge part in keeping the auidence watching the film, as they want to see what happens to them. You know you're characters work well when the audience is routing for them to die, if that's the point of the character, for me, this is exactly the point of my Butterfly Hunter...

Se7en Title Sequence...

So i've been thinking about how to maintain a strong act 1, act 2 and act 3, keeping the audiencehooked on my 1 minute animation. I was thinking of either having a long panning establishing shot for the act 1, to set the scene; something quite sinister and dark that would already create an opinion of the Butterfly hunter before they even see him. My second idea for act 1 would be to have a similar intro to this title sequence for Se7en. I think it's a beautiful piece of editing and one of my favourite title sequences from a film. It's a shame we don't get many title sequences like this these days. Anyway, i'm not too sure whether a minute animation would be long enoigh to include an intro similar to this this style, but i think if i could get it to fit in, it would be a great way of establishing and dark and sinister character before we even see him. I feel the second idea would be more effective than the first, but i don't know if a one minute animation allows time for an intro like this...

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Main Character Thoughts...



So i've been thinking about how make my butterfly hunter portray pure evil, through sadistic and sinister traits. A couple of characters come to mind, when i'm thinking about how to make sure the audience is against him throughout the minute animation. One particular character came to mind; Sweeney Todd. Now i haven't actually seen the film, but i have seen the trailer and it is another example of Johnny Depps, sinister acting style. Johnny Depp, is himself, quite an animated acter, i think of Captain Jack Sparow who is very theatrical and over exhaggerated with his movements. I feel my character needs to be rather sinister in his ways, because i find sinister characters o be very effective in portraying evil and saidistic ways. The other character that came to mind was, Judge Doom, from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He is a very excentric and sinister character in this film, and even now i still hate watching him in that film because it freaks me out. I think a combination of these two characters would provide the kind of personality and characteristics my butterfly hunter needs to make people hate him. For my Act 2, based on the second idea, i imagined the butterfly hunter to be hunting the bugs, in a similar fashion to a Sweeney Todd style. i'm not too sure why, but if i go with the second idea, i feel that it needs to be more dark and sinister, but less 'Looney' and animated in that sense. I am starting to come round to Phil's idea now, it took me a while to come away from my my beloved Paris-based idea; but i'm really starting to get in to this second idea and i feel there's lots of great ways to make it work well, and create and interesting butterfly hunter chraracter, with a nice twist at the end...

Friday, 12 February 2010

Two Person Maya Conversation...

So i just finished the Maya conversation and i'm glad i have learned the different types of framing for each shot, because there are a lot of ways to go wrong. Crossing the camera boundary is a big no no and i now know to make sure my chracters don't look like they've had their legs amputated... Another extremely helpful tutorial Alan...

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Non-Centred Pivot, Bouncing Ball...

Nice tutorial Alan, seems like such a simple task but it actually isn't and it's clear to see just how important it is to repeat this exercise. I was reading The Animator's Survival Kit, and it made me realise just how many different possibilities there area for the bouncing ball tutorial...

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

1 Minute Film Clip Storyboard - Development...



So Phil recommended that i start doing my 1 minute, film clip storyboard asap to get used to different shot types and sequences for writing my essay. So, i've started to do a scene from the beginning of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which is the short we see which Roger and the baby. I'm also taking this opportunity to look closely at exhaggeration, character design and proportion, ready for my own storyboards. I think i will spend the next few days neatly presenting this storyboard, as professionally as i can, so that when i come to do my own, i can produce a better quality storyboard. At the moment, i've just started the first shot and this is taking me a while, mainly due to getting the proportion of Roger's body right as well as the exhaggerated expression on his face. As you can see from the image above i am refining the image to get these aspects as close as possible to the original, this fine detail will hopefully provide me with a beter eye for detail when i come to design my own characters. I'm also taking this opportunity to use Photoshop and develop my digital painting skills, i find it a lot easy to do something like a storyboard because it's quick and easy to add colour and i can quick change and erase things... Hopefully by the end of the weekend, i should have a well presented 1 minute storyboard for this film, but we all know it's never that easy...

Yes... I am a GEEK... and Phil... I too was a Buffy fan...



So i think it's worth mentioning that, yes, i am a geek, surprisingly... That's pretty much why i'm on a CG course; we all are in some way or another. Anyway, i'm mega excited about the new season of Supernatural starting tonight, although i'll have to wait til i get home for easter to start watching it because it has switched channels from ITV 2 to Living TV. Supernatural has been one of my favourite on going TV series for a while now and this is rumoured to be the last season. For those of you who don't know, the plot follows two brothers who fight supernatural forces to save the world. Unfortunately it doesn't have Sarah Michelle Gellar in, as i was also a Buffy fan too, but i love the TV series which has me hooked every week, as well as keeping me laughing with perfectly timed comical moments. Other TV series that i have been into in the past have include Buffy, Angel, Charmed. I also like watching Crime investigation programmes like all the CSI's, criminal intent, Bones etc etc... so i truely am a geek... but i don't think i could live without these TV series' in my life...

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Learning From My Mistakes...



Okay, this part... this part right here, is called learning from my mistakes... So you've probably guessed that i watched The Pursuit of Happyness the other night and it's made me realise how cool it would be to have some narrating my life story. Someone like Will Smith who is always cool, or Sir Ian Mckellen in his epic Lord of the Rings voice, however, i don't think that would suit my vaguely average life story. Anyway, the point of this post was to say that i've been given the opportunity to go back and solve any problems i had on my final piece for the last unit, so that i am able to learn from my mistakes. Phil feels it would be benificial for me to go back and make sure i have those core skills bagged for future projects, and i'd have to agree with him. I wanted to go back a learn what i had done wrong, but timing issues with other projects wouldn't have allowed me to, however, the failure gives me no choice and therefore, i never thought i'd hear myself say this, but i'm happy to have failed and grateful for the opportunity to bag these skills...

Idea 2 - Treatment...

This is my second idea, which isn't fully finished and refined, but it was an idea Phil brought up in yesterday's Story Workshop, i feel it's definitely worth exploring because it has more of a twist in the ending the my first idea. However, for comedy values and good old slap stick comedy i still think i prefer my first idea. I've decided to play around with both for now and see what i come up with...

Act 1: In act 1 we establish a hatred for the villainous Butterfly Hunter...

I feel that if this idea is going to work well, the Butterfly needs to have the audience against him from the word go. I had the idea of a small, cute bug on a desk in a dark room filled with awards and newspaper articles showing the butterfly hunter's success. We see signs of anxst of the bug's face as he looks to escape, we then see the villainous butterfly hunter in his chair, pick the squarming bug up and as the camera continues to pan past them, we see him poke a pin through the bug, in a shadow on the wall. The light source could be from another room coming onto the wall from a slightly open doorway. Straight away this would make the audience want something to happen to the hunter...

Act 2: In act 2 we establish that the Butterfly hunter has a goal of finding more bugs...

Feel had the idea of a woodland area for this animation. If i was to go with that location, i feel it would only be right to make the Butterfly Hunter's home a cabin in the woodland. This makes sense because he likes to collects bugs, which can obviously be found in woodland areas. Anyway, he goes out hunting on his pogo-stick because he is quite a shot and old, excentric man. This scene will show him chasing bugs and capturing them with no mercy, they fear him. This will create a further hatred from the audience towards this character, who is a nasty pice of work. We see him go home, saidisticly happy with today's catch...

Act 3: In act 3 i want to provide a twist to the story, which is unexpected, but the audience will be cheering about...

Phil had the idea of creating giant bugs or butterflies which seek revenge on the butterfly huter, by either implying they would eat him as though it were a restaurant or ending with a shot that mimics the early shot of the butterfly hunter puting the pin into the bug, except this time the bugs have the pin. I quite like the idea of finishing up how i started, as though it comes back round to the beginning and that would end the story nicely, bringing it together neatly. My idea was to have the butterfly hunter back in his room again preparing to poke pins into the bugs, tormenting and teasing them in jars. I can imagine the camera being placed outside the window as though we were seeing something we weren't meant to and the camea pans to the the shadow on the wall where the giant butterflies get revenge with pins in their hand...

I like this idea and i can see it working nicely, i'm actually torn between both ideas now that i think about it, i think they both have their strengths, as well as weaknesses. If i go with the idea of matching the begining and end shots, i'm not too sure how the restaurant come into things though. This would be my major concern, although i do like the twist at the end, and i think there is a great opportunity for a lovely array of shot types, similar to my first idea...

Idea 1 - Treatment...

Just a quick recap... my three words are Restaurant, Butterfly Hunter and Pogo-Stick...

With my first idea i imagine having a similar style to Ratatouille, creating some beautifully bright and appealing scenery and characters. The animation will be a slap-stick comedy similar to a Tom and Jerry style chase scene...

ACT 1: In act 1 I will establish the location of the animation, and the main characters in the animation...

I imagine the animation to start of with an establishing shot; a slow panning shot from the roofs of buildings, showing the eiffel tower in the distance. The shot will be quite beautiful and painterly appealing, similar to when we are introduced to Paris in Ratatouille. After several slow tracking and panning shots of the beautiful scenery, the movement is interupted by a butterfly breathing deeply up against a wall. We see a net slowly come round the corner and swoop for the butterfly, just missing it. This is when the second character is introduced; the butterfly hunter on a pogo stick, who the audience will instantly be able to tell is the "villain" of the story...

Here we have already identified the two main characters and identified that the story is set in Paris. I am also planning on bringing the Maitre D in as another character, but he comes in at a later point in the animation...

Act 2: In act 2 I will establish the characters' goals, presenting obstacles for the characters...

This ac continues straight on from act 1, we establish that the butterfly's goal is to escap from the hunter, and the hunter's goal is to catch the butterfly for his collection. A butterfly would usually be able to fly off and escape fairly easily, so it's important to show that the butterfly has an injured wing or is fatigued. As the butterfly struggles to fly the the pavement of a busy street, with the hunter close behind on his pogo-stick, we see the butterfly make a dash into a traditional French Restaurant which a customer has just entered. The hunter still continues to pursue the butterfly and, he too, enters the restaurant, We have a comical scene where the Maitre D is speaking to a customer and the hunter barges through, causing the two people to spin around. We then see the butterfly hunter bouncing around the room while people are trying to eat their food, knocking things off tables. As the butterfly is cornered into the ceiling, the hunter is jumping up and down on the spot to get higher. Just as we think he is about to catch the butterfly, the pogo-stick has been taken from him by the Maitre D and his eyes shoot out his head, Looney Toon style, as he falls to the ground...

Act 3: In act 3 i shall establish some closure, but with a twist...

We cut now cut to a shot where the butterfly hunter is kicked out of the restaurant by the Maitre D and has butterflies spinning round his head, from the fall. Whilst the hunter is unconscious on the floor, we see that one of the butterflies is the real one. It starts to fly off into the distance, and we think it has escaped. Then BAM!!! the butterfly is hit by a van, we see it's wing slightly fluttering against the windscreen and the final shot is the camera panning back upwards, whilst looking down. In the distance we see the butterfly hunter who is now on his feet, jumping up and down angrily and snaps his net. He then starts to walk down the street dragging his pogostick behind him and the shots fades to black...

Elephant...


So i decided to buy Elephant from Amazon and it was delivered yesterday, which meant i was able to watch the film last night. I've seen this film before as well as two of Gus Van Sant's other films, Paranoid Park and Last Days. For me, this was the best of the three films, i particularly like the way it experiments with video and sound, something that mainstream film doesn't usually drift into. The structure of this film is in a chronological order, although we see the film overlap at times due to the perspective and story of the different characters we see. I also enjoyed the long tracking and panning in the shot, which seems quite dream-like and surreal, these shots go on for long periods of time, which is not something we are used to in mainstream film, we expct quick and snappy cuts. The sound is particularly interesting in the film because there is a lot of overlapping with talking scenes and the music is often quite dream-like and surreal, matching the video footage perfectly. There are several shots throughout the film which clearly show it is independent, one particular shot which i wasn't too keen on was the car scene in the beginning, we see a father and son, who clearly have a rocky relationship, the camera sits on the edge of the bonnet as we see them having a conversaton whilst driving. I found myself noticing the camerawork in this scene, which i know should never happen for cameramen and editors. When watching the film for the first time it's a different experience to the second because in the first time, i found myself trying to piece things together, as we the audience is constantly changing from character to character. In the end, the brutal scenes of the high scool shooting create an intensely dramatic and emotional state of mind, which combined with the beautiful shots and sequences, create a "brilliant, disturbing, [and] stunning" film...


Final Cut Pro Lesson 2...



So we had our second Final Cut Pro lesson today, which was about learning to use the effects and transitions, as well as using keyframes. I found this lesson quite interesting because the a lot of the effects and transitions where the same as in Premiere Pro and i enjoyed getting back into the editing process. After a tutorial from Mark, we were given the task of editing a sequence together using video transition, filters and keyframes. This was a fairly sim ple exercise, although it was made longer because we had to match it to the sequence Mark ha edited, which was being played on a loop on the board. Also, we had to try and find each transition and filter from the huge list there is. We got there eventually and although the sequence looked amazingly cheesy and tacky, i was glad to find that everything was similar to Premiere Pro. It still reminds me of the first time i used Premiere Pro at college, with the constant use of zooms and cheesy effects, and i was kind of hoping i'd never see the day of "powerpoint style" transitions again...

Monday, 8 February 2010

FAO: Phil... Essay...



Hey Phil, sorry to bother you again, i was just wondering if you could help me understand they essay a bit better. I'm not too sure what we need to write about and i'm slightly confused. If you could just give me a explanation of what it is we need to write about and maybe some examples of films that relate to the question that would be great...

Ratatouille...



So i decided to watch anothe animated film last night. Ratatouille was my choice, mainly because when i last watched it, i remember seeing some beautiful shots and i loved the appeal of the design throughout the film. This was something that i could use in helping me design the set and plan some of my shots for my own animation. I was particularly interested in how the restaurant looked in Paris, which was where i wanted to base my restaurant, also i wanted to see the layout of the streets and how the film identified the location.





Shots like this were of particularly interest because straight away we get a clear idea of where the story is set and roughly, the era. I particularly like the idea of starting with quite a wide ariel shot like this and slowly panning down, before the camera movements become interrupted by a more fast paced chase scene, which will be the focus of my story.





I was also looking out for the 12 principles of animation again and i find they are so easy to identify now i know and understand each of them. Similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit we see definite signs of exhagerrated movements, however i find Ratatouille has stuck to more realistic rules and therefore the exhagerration is slightly more minimal than in Roger Rabbit. As you can see from this image, there is definitely a C shape posture. The appeal is also there, something which Pixar seems to get right agai and again, the image below shows how the protagonist, Remi, has a real sense of character and personality, which makes him so likeable, as well as a good use of fur, everone's favourite effect...






It's also worth pointing out the two "villains" in this film, mainly due to there design and how they are made to be unfriendly as soon as we see them....







Here we see Ego, a harsh food critic, and i almost immediately get an unfriendly feeling, this character isn't warm and bright, he's quite dull and distasteful. His gaunt face and dark clothing and two extremes of colour contrast, which along with his long and thin body creates and instant presumptious reaction. This is is why design is so important in the appeal of characters, to allow the audience to identify who's "good" and who's "bad", it's a stereoype that has been passed down from generation to generation, and audiences are able to tell straight away whether they are meant to like a character or not.






Another villainous character is the head chef, who also has an awkward shaped body, and straight away there is something unpleasant when we look at him. I will look into some more characters as well, because i feel the design key to a successful appealing character, along with the motion of the character...

Sunday, 7 February 2010

My Drive Thru - Music Video...

So i've been listening to a lot of music on YouTube recently whilst doing my research and frantic running around like a headless chicken, not knowing what order to do things in for this unit. I've just been reading books and researching my three words, and i think i may speak to Phil tomorrow to see if i can get some tips on how to approach this unit in a more structured way. Anyway, this post was just to show an interesting music video which i've seen before, but it's been a while since i last saw it. I love the way the music video flows and how consistent the editing is, there was a lot of room to make errors and go wrong, but i felt the editor(s) have got it spot on. I particularly like this technique, which i believe is some sort of pixellation, it creates a really fun and creative music video which i always love to see. No doubt my main man Pharrell Williams had a say in this music video, the man's a musical genius. The beat's pretty catchy too...

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Lesson One... Animation is Concentration...



So i know how much we all enjoy listening to music or having the TV on in the "background" whilst working, and we are all really good at convincing ourselves that it helps our concentration. But, it turns out that it actually has the opposite effect, surprisingly. Whilst reading The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams, the director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, i have learned that his first lesson is to make sure you have turned off your music and face the silence because it will improve your animation right away. Williams, himself, used to be a fan of listening to classical music or jazz while working, but things soon changed after one of his first visits to Milt Kahl. When asking Milt whether he listened to classical music while working, the response was a somewhat unforgettable experience and since then has taught Williams to put up with the silence, passing his wisdom on to others.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit...



After Alan's Maya lesson yesterday, i decided to watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which is possibly one of the best examples of the 12 principles of animation. It's so successful that it's earned itself as my favourite film of all time and clearly many other people agree of this successfulness of this film, as it has earned a well deserved 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. After Alan's lesson, i wanted to see if i could identify these 12 principles in the film and they are clearly presented in the film. From appealing characters to exhaggeration, from timing and spacing to squashing and stretching. I feel that even in these early pre-production stages it is hugely important to have a clear understanding of the 12 principles of animation because they are needed through all the stages of an animation for it to be successful, from pre-production to production to post-production. Watching a film like Who Framed Roger Rabbit has helped me to to value the importance of these 12 principles because it has helped this film achieve huge success.



You can see from the image above we have a clear inverted C and some exhaggeration, particularly in Roger's face. I can also see a clear example of squashing and stretching in Roger's cheek as it presses up against Eddie's face. Already, from this one stil, i have picked out 3 different principles, and i would be able to identify more in the actual sequence from the film.



Again, in this image we can some slight exhaggeration in his facial expression and pose. I also feel the character is slightly more appealing in this still, we already get a sense of his personality and character. From what i ca see, there is an example of both a C and S shape pose in Roge's stance, depending on which ear you are looking at. Again, just a selection of principles can be pointed out from this still alone.



I don't need to highlight the principles in this still as well, because it becomes clear that in each sequence, this film makes great use of the 12 principles. We have also become familiar with these in cartoons such as Tom and Jerry, and The Looney Toons. When Alan showed us examples of each principle, i found myself saying 'oh, yeah' because it was so clear that these principles have been carefully thought of when creating these animations and cartoons, it seems the audience takes it for granted, but there is a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes. To get a better understanding of the 12 principles and the other elements of animation that Alan identified yesterday, i feel it would be benificial to do some research into each seperate element, allowing me to gain a better knowledge when i start drawing and designing ideas for my animation duringthe week.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

FAO: Phil... Story-Telling Essay...


Hey Phil, am i right in thinking that our essay for the story telling unit is based on structuralism? if so i was thinking about writing my essay on Gus Van Sant's film, Elephant. I watched it in my BTEC Media class a year or two ago and i absolutely loved it. Also, it would give me a good excuse to actually buy the film...

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Final Cut Pro Lesson 1...



So we had our first Final Cut Pro (FCP) lesson today and i was amazed at how similar it was to PremierPro. One of the only differences seemed to be Apple's need to change the names, so they could be "different" from every other company in the computer industry. I could think of many different alternate names for a folder, however, Apple has completely baffled me by deciding to call them bins instead. This lesson was intriguing, but slightly basic, i found myself just getting to know the interface and he differen names, so that i was familiar with the software and i just had to remind myself of editing techniques because it's been a little while since i last used PremierPro. Overall, this lesson was very insightful, and i'm looking forward to progressing in the other upcoming lessons, because i've always enjoyed editing.

La Jetee...



La Jetee (The Jetty or The Pier). is a 28 minute black and white Sci-Fi film by Chris Marker, made in 1962. The film is constructed almost entirely of still images and presents the story of a post-nuclear war experiment in time travel. The plot follows the survivors of a destroyed, post-apocalyptic Paris in the aftermath of the Third World War, who live underground in the Palais de Chaillot galleries. They research time travel, hoping to send test subjects to different time periods to call past and future to the rescue of the present.

I've seen 12 Monkeys before so this storyline was familiar to me, although i was still slightly confused by it. I really enjoyed 12 Monkeys, even though i found it slightly hard to follow at times and i was slightly confused throughout. The mysteriousness of the beginning, however, keeps you hooked because you want to know what is going on. After watching La Jetee, i can that 12 Monkeys is almost a modern day release of the same film. I enjoyed La Jetee equally as much as 12 Monkeys and i really enjoyed the way that it was constructed of only images but still got the story across as though it was live footage. I'm glad i've seen both films because it's a great way of seeing how film can be presented both independently and commercially. The reason i felt La Jette worked so well was its powerful black and white images along with the equisite use of sound and narrative. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with the whispers and the disorientated effect it gave off, showing the mind state of the main character. I also enjoy the way the ending links up with the beginning as we see that the person the boy sees die is actually his older self. I definitely understand the story a bit better now that i've seen it for a second time and read the plot. When i watched 12 Monkeys, it was a mind-boggling experience to say the least, and i have the feeling La Jetee would have been the same if i didn't already understand the storyline.

For those of you who haven't seen 12 Monkeys, watch it, and here's a 2 minute cut-down of the film show the similarities in the narrative to La Jetee...