Friday, January 18, 2013


This blog is soon to be obsolete. You'll note that the video clips are gone too. Gonna have a proper website up soon. I'll the 'you are ell' when we gut that up and running.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Been doing loads of post. Cleaning up old scenes and putting the final touches on others. Not much to post yet. Got the edit up and online on the AVID. Lol

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

About 20 hours deep on the post for scene 16. It's definitely the most complicated post work i've done for any one scene. All my hard-learned lessons for workflow are coming in handy.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Through various byzantine machinations, i've wrangled myself a new computer. Nothing too fancy, but a huge leap from the old one. The previous one wasn't capable of doing proper post work. The new one handles it easily. So I can finally do that stuff myself.

Did all the keys for Lord William in scene 16 yesterday. They were the most complex keys i've done to date. Which was compounded by all the colour shenanigans.

Here's the comp/precomp layers setup for Lord William in a medium shot (like the video clip)

-Lord William precomp
-LW highlights precomp
-LW highlights precomp, using above layer as 'luma matte'
-Black solid, mask keyframed to follow the hair
-LW footage for Matte, keyed for hair, 'set to screen matte', using above as alpha matte
-LW footage for Matte, keyed, set to 'screen matte'
-LW Darks precomp
-LW Matte for Dark precomp
-Black solid, mask keyframed to follow the hair
-LW footage for Matte, keyed for hair, 'set to screen matte', using above as alpha matte
-LW footage for Matte, keyed, set to 'screen matte'
-LW Footage (keyed), above layed set to 'luma matte'
Point being, there's a lot of crap going on.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Had another whack at the colour for scene 16. Just for fun. I've got Dave working on it too.

The wealth of options is actually making it difficult. Hard to commit to a colour scheme. We can control the highlights of the table, the highlights of Lord William, the darks of Lord William, the highlights and darks of Cornelisz (the dude who's back we're looking at in the picture) and the background all separately. And they're all bright to begin with.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Test of the candle light business. Not bad, but needs some sexy 80's saxophone.

The background plate for this shot setup (of which they is six of em) has been hard. It was originally shot for a daylight scene. I've been trying to shop it up to match the animated elements. Almost there. The shadows on Lord Willy are too cool. But that'll be easy to fix.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Here's some of the many layers and masks needed for the candle set up. They are, from left to right and top to bottom:

Final composite
Lord William highlights layer
Lit candle shot
Processed and separated candle highlights
Dark shadows layer
Red backdrop for matting the candles
Matte for table edges & Lord William
Matte for candle edges
Matte to remove darker parts of candle highlights

This ain't an actual shot - it's the final setup for all the candle and lighting stuff. Contrast is too high, and there's some glitches with the candle highlights overlay. The nice thing about the setup though, is that I can vary the colour and darkness of the highlights and shadows independantly until i'm happy with it.

First five takes from scene 16. The unprocessed raw footage, without lighting effects and candle shenanigans. They also need some holds added. The first shot is suspect; what the hell is doing with his spoon? Waving it around? The last shot (Bravo!, etc.) is a failed take. He starting falling over near the end. And the arm movement is goofy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

First almost-full test of setup for scene 16. Too dark. And Lord William ain't moving, which makes things harder.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Working on scene 16 now. Gonna be another monster.

Cornelisz shows up in the court of Lord William; Corndog asks him to burn a carriage for him - a model for the centrepiece of the painting.

The original plan was to have the court full of soldiers (see pic with tons of soldiers). After some brain-based storming, we figured that it wasn't appropriate. Needed something more intimate. So we've decided to have the scene at night, and Lord William has a dinner spread (or post-dinner, with the dishes still there). And candlelight. It's going to be a real challenge to pull this off.

Here's a couple rough test shots (candle pics).

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Look at dis boid. And dat boid.

The bird's pretty shitty. Which is why it's small in the composition. Birds are really goddamn hard to make. Why did I pick birds? Why'd it have to be birds? I realized though, that our visual-metaphor-bird doesn't have to be seen super close up to work. It just has to register as a boid.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

There's just two shots of Lord William left to do, and that's it for the scene. Except three shots of the tiny bird in the little cage. Should be a fast job for those shots, as there's only going to be significant movement in one of the shots.

I finally got to put some of this stuff together for the final version, and slap on some colour and assorted bullshit. It's pretty exciting - stuff actually happens in this scene. Human drama and whatnot.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A few shots of Lord Billy, with some rough post. Threw them together for fun. It's getting boring just shooting without seeing what she's gonna look like. There's some whacky colour experiments going on too.

I'm not posting everything i'm doing/have done; there's about 35 bits of animation in the bag for the scene already. About 10 or less more to go. This scene has turned out to be a real beast. I thought it might be a bit boring, but it's probably one of the least boring scenes in the film. There's actually stuff happening. And drama and shit.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Here's Lord William for 12_29. Just the raw frames - no cropping or tonemapping or nothing.

I'm trying to avoid doing any post work beyond what is necessary to finish the scene. Fooling around with the footage wastes alot of time. That aside, I am doing a little bit of post, just to keep morale up.

Threw on some excessive reverb. And put in a rough sound effect.

Lord William is just a still in this test. I've since animated him. The HDR is a bit much on Cornelisz, but I have a plan for that. There's heavy HDR on the close up shots of Cornelisz, which I did cause he looks less crappy that way. So I have to match the wider Cornelisz shots with the close ups. But the same level of HDR tonemapping looks excessive. So I rendered out alternate versions of the wider shots, with almost no tonemapping. I'm going to overlay those versions on the HDR ones and carefully lower the opacity to blend them, and hopefully find a good middle ground.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dude, relax from Band Sinistre on Vimeo.

Couple test clips from Scene 12. I'm avoiding doing post work on it. Dont wanna waste any time with redundant post work on an inferior computer. Just sticking to the minimum to ensure everything is workable. I'll do the proper post in one go after everything is shot.

Quit Yelling at Me from Band Sinistre on Vimeo.

Friday, January 20, 2012

More practical storyboards. And a sample chart; the type I use to animate dialogue. I thought it looked a bit Lee Valley-ish, so I sepiatoned the sumbitch. The dialogue is pretty easy, as the puppets only move their mouths up and down. Flap flap flap.
The top part of the picture is a storyboard made while staring into space and drinking beer. And for grants. The bottom pic is a practical, business storyboard. Spot the difference.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Here's some more. This took 9 seconds to do.

Carriages sure have a lot of shit.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Glad we (I) finally stopped goofing around and recorded a professional voice actor for the part of Lord William. Working with a pro is a much different experience than working with a 'pretty-good but not quite a pro' actor. This dude (who also played the main character, Cornelisz) brought all sorts of background to Lord William that didn't even occur to me in any concrete fashion. And these aspects of his character also made the plot make more sense. Fifteen minutes of character investigation by a true pro built an iron foundation for our formerly slightly shaky plot line. Hot damn. The man doesn't do anything less than a rock-solid take, ever. He only gives subtle variations of intonation that may or may not be appropriate for the scene, and can only be inferred from careful study of the context. It takes a year of listening to his work to appreciate the subtlety of the work he gave you.

What i'm trying to say is, I like the guy.

Dude was in Death Note. Fuckin' tight.

Things are motoring along pretty quickly. Finished another short scene, shot the backgrounds for three other scenes, and shot most of the animated carriage. A few different loops, to go with the horse. It's not very efficient for me to be rendering that stuff out, so not much to post.

We burned us up some black paper. Shot it with a couple still cameras, shooting as fast as possible. It didn't work very well, as the flames were moving way too fast. I stumbled on a neat After Effects trick though. Works pretty good. I think this is how we're going to do the fire. It would be easy enough to shoot real-time fire with an HD camera, but we thought it would look too real. Not hand-made enough.

We also finally rerecorded the VO for Lord William. Sure glad we did. We all got schooled on what it means to be a pro.

Monday, January 02, 2012

The deadline is approaching for the film. I'm working all the time on the thing. No days off. Not posting much though; every hour devoted to doing practical things counts.


It's not the best animation in the world (gonna do another take), but it doesn't look stupid. It's a miracle. The horse was always a lurking problem in the back of my mind - the key prop in the film is a carriage. And a carriage has to be pulled by horses. Can't really cheat that. But surprisingly, the horse only took about a day and a half to make. And I got passable animation on the second try. Far out.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bird cage. Didn't build it. Just borrowed one. I think I can make it work.

I had to mask out the front bars of the cage in Photoshop. Was not fun.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Also made the back wall. Was trying to avoid using that angle at all, but it proved impossible. Not sure what kind of material all the splotchy shit is supposed to be. Who cares. It doesn't look bad, and it's done. I was going to have some big banners hanging on either side of the doorway, but it proved unworkable. The small scale became evident with the fabric. I knew this would be a problem, and planned to Phtotoshop a larger scale banner in. Also didn't work.
Made a table. Full puppet scale. Gonna shoot Lord William at the table looking at military maps, and Corndog standing behind. I'm going to try to shoot all three elements together. To reduce the amount of keying. We'll see if it works or not.

I made the table, even though it's only for one lousy scene, because shooting three scenes in a row in the same set with everybody in the same place seemed dull.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Top group of pics are the backgrounds for scene 8. Bottom ones are for scene 16. They're missing a key element - bird cage. I have the thing - just have to shoot it and shop it in.

Still need to do scene 12 backgrounds. That's next. Gonna have a full puppet-scale table.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Scene 16 plates. Working full tilt now. Not posting a lot of stuff here. Too busy doing it.

There's three scenes in this set. Gonna do the backgrounds for all three in one go. Trying to be as efficient as possible.

Don't quite love the colour for these plates, but i'm going to stick with it. I already have a slew of Photoshop actions saved to generate the split-tone effect. Not worth the trouble to alter them in Photoshop. I'll just make them all match, then generate an RGB curves in After Effects and apply it to all the shots.

The wide shot with all the dudes took an outrageous amount of photoshopping. But it's done.

Monday, December 05, 2011

And here's the floor I made. And printed out. And used as a floor.

Scene 8 plates. Each with the regular version, and the day for night version. It's gonna be an interior night scene. I may have blown it photographing the candlelight highlights though. May have to reshoot. But I know how to do em know.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A couple test comps with shots of the set. It's a useful practice. Helps keep in perspective the relative importance of the background. I.e. not the most important thing.

It's missing a few bits, but pretty much done. The missing bits are done. I just ain't glued them suckas on yet. I baroqued the shit outta the thing. This set has been a real bastard. A real battle to dial back the suck. I'm happy with the thing now though. This is just the side wall. Front wall done too. Now I just have to make a floor in photoshop. Then i'll have it printed out.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I have indeed been doing shit. But too busy/lazy to post anything. Probably put something up real soon-like though.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Spent almost an entire day battling design problems. Needed more stuff to fill the big empty spaces and make it feel more like a window. Tried all sorts of things; probably about 5 different attempts in total. Even got as far as building a jig for making an asian-looking window grate. But those problems are solved - just a couple hours left to finish this thing. Then I gotta knock off the (much simpler) side wall, and the floor. For the floor, i'm just gonna make a big-ass photoshop file and get it printed out full-size on photo paper. And glue the sucker on there.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Here's a crude mock-up of what the final result may look like. Cornelisz is in there for scale.

This big whacky thing is going to be a huge wrought-iron window. Or patina copper, rather. For the Interior of Lord William's digs. There will be other elements, but this will be the main one. Going to go for a less ambitious set. Just some strong design.

I had a different plan, but I had to scrap it when it became apparent that it would be too expensive. So I photographed the stuff that I had, and photoshopped this big whacky design.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Finished the post for good ol' scene 4. Bird attack action. Added lots of camera movement, depth of field, atmospherics, and other assorted bullshit.

Scraw scraw!
Been doing lots of work. Mostly post work. So not much to post here really.

I fixed Lord William. Now he looks like a sensual old man. I hope. I was trying to think of ways to make him scarier. Then i just said 'to hell with it' and gave him a Kaiser Bill moustache.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Lord William

He started out looking like an eighteenth century French aristocrat. Now he looks like a grandpa who'd like to tell stories around a campfire. Oh well. To hell with it. He's done. Maybe i'll clean him up a little. The dude looks like he needs to fire his valet.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

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