Archives For Visual Effects

Working with a Visual Effects Supervisor can be tough if it’s your first time doing it, especially in independent film. You only have one shot to get it right because there isn’t time or money for re-shoots.

I learned a lot of lessons while directing Avarice and working with Visual Effects Supervisor Dan Baker. Here are some great tips for driving your Visual Effects Supervisor to insanity:

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Having an actor play two different roles in the same film or TV show has been seen a lot throughout the history of film. One of my favorites was in Cat Ballou where Lee Marvin played a washed gunfighter and his own nemesis Tim Strawn.They both battle it out in the film, and for years, I didn’t even know it was the same actor.

It’s also been seen in a lot of tv shows, such as Friends, in which Lisa Kudrow plays Phoebe and her twin sister Ursula. Even Peter Jackson did it in his first film Bad Taste, playing two characters in the same scene, one torturing the other.

While it may seem tricky, it’s actually a lot easier than one might expect. It definitely makes production a little slower, but if done properly, it should be fairly simple. We experienced this while filming Avaricein which the main character plays a darker version of herself. Here’s how we did it:

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Effects shots are incredibly tedious.

In my short film Avarice, we have over 180 visual effects elements and it’s only a 12 minute film. We have been in post-production with this film for about 8 months, and the only visual effects shots that are completed as of now are two shots of opening titles. Visual effects take quite a bit of time to complete, even if you have someone who is very skilled and talented in the area. Continue Reading…

Directing actors is one thing. But how do you direct a character that isn’t actually there? In Avarice, one of the main characters was the Light, a fairy type light that befriends the Girl in the beginning of the film. I had never directed a film when I started this project, and I certainly had never dealt with directing something that wasn’t even there, so there were a lot of things I wish I had known before going into it.

These are some little tidbits that I learned along the way that might help someone who is filming something similar: Continue Reading…

If you’ve worked with me you know I like to do as much in camera as possible. The computer has it’s uses, but digital effects will always lack the complexity and randomness of organic, live-action special effects. Think I’m a bit of a dinosaur? Check out the behind the scenes features on any J.J. Abrams or Guillermo del Toro film.

Needing to add light glints to a number of props in our short-film Avarice, the initial thought was to use Adobe AfterEffects and some manner of plugin, perhaps Red Giant Software’s Starglow (part of the Trapcode Suite). While this would have worked, it would have looked computer generated…AKA fake.

What was our solution? Continue Reading…