I could do pretty much anything to pull off the concept and make the idea happen.
But at the same time it is really essential to me to make it as real as possible !
As usual it is all about the context.
We are working on-and-off, on the Awakening project for a while now and the whole idea is to make it “big” but on a budget.
At the moment we are scouting for a suitable after-fall / sci-fi looking location… in the London area..
Yeah I know…
Pretty much every single quirky property in London is already signed by one of the local/international agency and in most cases it costs a fortune to hire.
If we will take into consideration that we will need it for at least three days – one pre-light and two shooting days – we could easily look at a minimum £5K just for the place to shoot!
It is obviously a no-go so we have to improvise and find something as close as possible to the initial idea and then build a set within that space to create the look-and-feel we need.
This comparing to the above scenario could be really cost effective. If somehow we could get directly to for example care taker that will let us in for a couple hundred £££, it would be a win-win situation.
My goal would be to build and light the full set in front of a camera as I want to make it “real”!
Physical set gives you a few important elements.
- First of all you, your team, (and client) will have the complete scene to examine and work with. To frame the shots and find the best angles etc.
- Secondly it provides a solid grip for the models. They can interact with the set/props and act in a convincing way. It is especially important when working with inexperienced models, when it could be a real issue to improvise with hypothetical machinery and surrounding.
- Another very important if not the most important detail is the integrity of the whole illustration. When the set and the models character is well build, composed, lit and then photographed at the same time, no one can question your final piece and you will have a cohesive output.
So what is your option if for some reason (money, time, man power) you cannot build an extensive set or hire suitable location?
The answer to this could be a composite.
And you have a few options to approach that but unfortunately none are ideal.
- The most obvious solution is to photograph the “plates” for composites on the day and then separately shoot props, a few different locations and mix it with the actual scene. Then later in complex post production combine all elements into the illustration.
- You could build a bespoke miniature set and photograph that model with proper macro lenses to match the perspective and depth of field and combine that with your “plates”.
- Another way-out is to build the 3D CGI model and then set the digital camera view to match the rendering to your photographs.
All the above scenarios could overcome your initial problems but could easily create a few more in the process.
The most significant is that you would have to fix the frames and composition pretty much in advance. This might be OK for people used to working with a precise brief/storyboard from a client or art director but it leaves a very limited space to improvise with your models on the day.
It is one thing to have a sketch in the hand and another to deal with props and ten models on the day.
But the issue I am talking about here is more philosophical than technical.
It is about justifying the tools for the right work…
To me it feels quite reasonable to use the computer generated imaginary when you are battling a commercial project like Sci-fi photos or a movie about landscapes/machinery/species that never existed, but I don’t feel the same about less action packed motion pictures like dramas and love stories.
Take for example the recent two big Blockbusters – Pacific Rim and on the other side – The Great Gatsby.
I am not naive, after a few years in 3D visualisation market I have a good and clear picture what goes into today’s productions and that both the above movies will use CGI’s to pull off the impossible scenes.
You would expect anything from the first title, but I must say that I was a little surprised and maybe a bit shocked when I saw later how extensive the computer generated imaginary was in The Great Gatsby.
Check the VFX breakdown below:
It is a great piece of hard work of the many people involved, but I can’t help that in this case it’s a little bit of showing off and I must say it drove me away from the main story while watching. Of course it is just my opinion, my wife for example have no problem with that and says it gave this fairy tale look to the footage.
I could still argue, but what would be the point if it worked for many.
The point of these blog post is that your goal as a creator of the illustration or if some prefer “the artwork” should be to make your “art” as true to your viewer as possible.
It is all about the respect to other people, about the extra effort that not many can handle…
We will try to build our set as complex as possible and we will let you know where and why we have drawn the line between real and illusion.
To Be Continued……
Thanks for checking!