Saturday, March 28, 2009

When the Muse visits you......

... and you never can predict when, or why..... what do you do?


You grab a good hold on her - or in my case, wake up, shuffle around to find pen and paper and refuse to let her go until you have at least an outline of the new story idea she's whispering in your ear.... which was exactly what I had to do this morning.

The Muse was not amused -

but please don't worry or send a complaint about me to the Organisation Against Maltreatment of Muses; I let her go eventually - I have learned that if you don't, she won't be forthcoming with elaborations, so you (I) have to let her fly away, to return in the near future with more ideas to flesh out the story she just planted the seeds for in your (my) mind.

Nevertheless, I was able to pen down the rough outlines of something that I'm more than mildly excited about. Something I haven't done before. Something that I'll have to put on hold (I need a break, anyway; badly) until some addons for Moviestorm are appearing which are, as I understand it, being worked upon; something which would need the help of an experienced MS modder - something for which the images are already appearing thick and fast. Not since Dark Obsession have I felt this driven and on the edge of more ideas like now. The main characters are there. The outline, the beginning, the end - are there. Now the bones need flesh.

I hope the little Muse returns tonight! :)
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Friday, March 27, 2009

Compositing problems.... or, more precisely, rendering problems

Oookay, okay, maybe I'm overdoing things - maybe my poor old computer is just too slow to handle this....

I finally finished a 2:07 min scene for The Afflicted - with the following "ingredients"...

  • two colour gradients, one of these 3D manipulated
  • two green-screened events
  • two ProTypeTitler events
  • one integrated .veg file, into which another .veg file was integrated; made of numerous things: titles, video, still images with effects, 3D manipulations, green screening
  • one voice-over track
  • one music track
... the whole thing brought together, keyframed... yada, yada, yada..... (see picture below)

To cut a long story short - I tried to render it out yesterday, and it just won't. Not only does Vegas need about 3 hours to get it done (up to a point), it always crashes shortly before the end.... which pulls the plug on my dream of being able to skip the pre-renders for every little scene ... *sigh*.

If my computer isn't able to handle 2 minutes of composited film (AMD Athlon 64FX-60 Dual Core, 2 Radeon X1950 Crossfire graphic cards, 4 Gigs of RAM), then I can scrap the dream of just putting all the .veg files together for the final render .... now.
I won't even start thinking about how long it would take if it actually would work.... two; three days?!

So, it's back to rendering in little chunks.... calm thoughts, Simone, calm thoughts.... :p

And if you wanted to ask now - no, I never do things by halves. :D
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Storyboard or no Storyboard.... or your way of working

So, during my interview on the Machiniplex premiere of Saving Grace, the question came up if I do storyboards - and people seemed a bit astonished that I don't.

In fact, I never even write down how I want to film certain scenes - in my scripts, you won't find inserts like "slow camera pan from left to right" or "camera focuses on younamehim's face". I don't make notes concerning the camera, not even for myself.

I thought maybe that would have to change now I'm filming someone elses script - but found that I work this like I do one of my own.

I just read the script, and while I'm reading, the movie plays in my minds eye; at first some scenes are blurred, but the more often I read it, and the more I get into it, the more the vision clarifies.
When I start filming, each scene is complete in my head, and the "only" thing left to do is get it done.... of course, during the process, I sometimes change things - add a close-up here or a pan there - but not much. In the end, the scenes always come out pretty much as I "saw" them.

I realise that this would be a nightmare if I were doing machinima in the classical sense - with other people operating the characters for me while I'm filming - but I'm not sure I could change my ways - for one thing, I don't even know all those fancy correct terms for the camera movements! :p I also think this might be the reason why I can work only one project at a time - there's simply not enough room in my brain for more than one movie-vision (I admire people who can work on several films at the same time, and I'm somehow sure that's only possible because they're taking notes... or is it?).

I would love to hear how you work. Do you have a storyboard, or write down notes on how a scene should look? How's your workflow? When do you get your ideas? While writing the script, or afterwards? How much do you change while filming if you do have a storyboard?
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Things coming together

I received some of my special mods from MikeDBoing yesterday - just look at some of his TM mods here and you'll know how good he is!! Thank you, Mike!

So finally I'm able to put some things together, and get a feeling how it all will look in the end - up to now, a lot was only in my minds eye. I rendered a 30sec testscene today - for reference - and oh well, it took nearly an hour to get it done.....

Another thing that I like very much in Vegas is that you can combine .veg files - and the best thing - if you combine two or more of them, and have to change something in one of them, you're able to change the original .veg and the changes appear automatically in the combined one! (what a sentence) This is pure bliss for me - as every other scene is heavily chroma-keyed....

I hope that in the end, I'll be able to piece together the combined .veg files of all the scenes and render the whole film from there - before, I always had to make renders of every individual scene and piece those together, so it would be great to be able to skip that step.

Slowly, slowly, we're getting there! :)
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thank the deities, the deadline is off...... (about perfectionism)

... for the Industry 101 competition - I can finish The Afflicted at my own, leasurely pace! :)

I was beginning to worry - the end of march is not that far away, and most likely I would not have been able to have the movie ready for release until then.

I consider that one of my faults - I don't work well under time constrictions. I hate to rush things to do with movie-making. It goes against my wish to do everything as perfectly as I can; against re-imagining scenes again and again... which is as such not a bad thing, but sometimes I wonder if I'm not too perfectionistic and thus loading on work I wouldn't have to do if I just could be a tiny bit more relaxed.... I mean does the viewer really see the little things that irk me so that I redo a whole scene again the 10th time? Does it really make a difference? It surely does for me - and in the end, it's me who has to be happy with the end result, I know that. And it takes a lot to make me happy with my own work.

Why is that? I'm much more lenient when it comes to other people's work - I tend to overlook things that I would never tolerate in one of my own movies (or at least, I won't let little things take away from the enjoyment I otherwise get out of the film). Is it that the same for everyone? To which extend is the critical eye concerning ones own work healthy, and when does it start to become an annoyance; hampering the flow of creativity?
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