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Slugline. Simple, elegant screenwriting.

Red Giant Color Suite, with Magic Bullet Looks 2.5 and Colorista II

Needables
  • Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM
  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz
Wednesday
Aug152007

VFX: Easier than you think, harder than you think


I love this breakdown clip from Ryan vs. Dorkman 2 (which, if you haven't seen it, is totally worth watching). Based of the so-simple-it's-brilliant notion of showing Star Wars Lightsabers doing things that "we personally think would be fun to see," these guys staged a Lightsaber battle in a factory between, well, two regular guys. The effects work is excellent, and one reason why is that they shot a lot of practical elements.

When you're just getting into effects, it's easy to get stuck thinking that you have to do everything with your computer. These guys wanted to create a realistic reflection, smoke, and sparks. So you know what they did? They shot something that would create a reflection. Then they filmed some smoke. Then they filmed some sparks.

Easy, right? Well, maybe not. To some people it's easier to sit in front of a computer for hours trying to get particles to look like smoke than it is to black out a space and heat up a metal rod with a blowtorch. But the latter is worth the extra effort, because the results will look better and ultimately take less time to create. Sometimes making something look photo-real is just as easy—and as difficult—as shooting something real.

Reader Comments (9)

Yes, but do they ever touch it, or accidentally whack R2?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2U10tf5buE

I apologize in advance for the shameless self-promotion, but I just made this last weekend. Much lower quality (DV), about 4 hours and all FX, nothing practical. They really did a great job and I really appreciate the extra mile they are going.

August 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJwestern

RVD2 looks pretty amazing. What a great example of how much you can do with practical effects, really slick shot.

August 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWes Vasher

I'm always an advocate of filming elements and even miniatures, instead of trying to create them in 3D. You get better realistic results in less time. I'm a practical man. :)

August 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAruna

I'm all for using practical AND cg. Whatever works best. I'm a little tired of hearing people rag on CG just because they see a lot of bad CG out there. Remember, there's also a lot of bad practical out there. It's not important what technique you use, as long as it doesn't pull the audience out of the story.

August 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDJ Smack Mackey

I was actually one of the VFX artists on RVD2. I created a CG hilt for two two shots. You can view the breakdown here...

http://www.danielbroadway.michaelfrisk.com/TRAILER/rvd2_pm_web.mov" REL="nofollow">RVD2_ VFX_BREAKDOWN

August 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Broadway

Yep! And I did the sparkies. Represent!

August 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDetonationfilms

Great work guys!

August 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

Great work guys!

August 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

Hey Stu,

This is Dorkman. Thanks for the write-up, it's a real honor and it means a lot that you've even seen the film, much less enjoyed it.

Also, I sent you a PM about a week ago thru the Pixelcorps forums. I don't know if you got it. My username there is "mii".

September 9, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichael
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