31 January 2017

Storytelling & Commission: Script

Here is the script I wrote for our current project. I feel that it properly lays out the direction of each shot, and means that if different people were making storyboards for this, they would come out with very similar results. Any and all feedback is welcomed and appreciated!

27 January 2017

Storytelling & Commission: Animated Like-for-Like Storyboard

I took the panels I made for my "Like for Like" Storyboard and put them into Premiere, syncing them up with the original audio 

22 January 2017

Storytelling & Commission: Like-For-Like Storyboard

Here is my "Like for Like" Storyboard, depicting roughly 28 seconds of a scene from the movie "Watchmen".

Storytelling & Commission: Revised Logline

Here is my revised Logline, which is more fitting to my current story:

Famous figures keep disappearing right from the public eye. A dark, mysterious hired assassin is the one responsible, and he’s just taken another target. Will they find out who the man is? And will they ever be able to escape in time?

Storytelling & Commission: O.G.R Presentation

Storytelling & Commission: Step Outline

This is the "Step Outline" for my story:
We see a celebrity standing in a room surrounded by people. They are taking photos of the celebrity. Suddenly, an arm appears around the celebrity and pulls them backwards – cut to black. Cut to another celebrity taking selfies with members of the public. Suddenly, the shelf of a sack barrel appears underneath their feet and they tilt backwards – cut to black. This happens to another celebrity, only this time we see the person doing it is shrouded in darkness, yet the light glints off a pair of glasses they are wearing – cut to black. Fade up on the last celebrity’s face, too terrified to move. They are attached to the sack barrel, with an I.D. Card hanging around their neck, and are being dragged down a corridor. The camera tilts up to see that the mysterious man is the one pulling him along. He stops, propping the celeb against a wall whilst fumbling with some keys. We can see one or two people walk past in the distance. The man opens a door and wheels the celebrity inside, closing the door behind him. 
The man props the celebrity in the sack barrow up against a wall at an angle. He fumbles about looking for something, whilst the celebrity is still too terrified to say or do anything. The man opens a draw and finds what he has been looking for – a box of matches. He takes one out of the box and lights it, sighing to himself as he does so. We finally see his face, middle aged yet wrinkled. He says “Nothing personal. I’m just doing my job” and lets out a small chuckle, before bringing the match closer. From behind him, a young man opens the door and enters the room, saying “Man, I really need to replace the lights in here. We’re all just going out for lunch, you coming?”. The older man replies “Sure thing”, blows the match out, and follows the younger man out. We are looking form the outside in, as the man closes the door, showing a sign placed on it – “Waxwork Model Melting Room”. The camera fades to black.

I feel that this is the best way I can have summed up the action in the scenes. I feel by having such few scenes in the plot, it allows the tension and suspense within the story to be more apparent.

21 January 2017

Storytelling & Commission: Logline

Building upon feedback I received from Phil, here is the Logline for my story:

"A group of celebrities are trapped in a room. A dark, mysterious figure keeps visiting them and taking one of the celebrities with him, for them never to return. Will they find out who the man is? And will they ever be able to escape?"

I feel that this incorporates a sense of tension and mystery into the plot, without giving away the twist that'll happen in the final act.

20 January 2017

Storytelling & Commission: Premise

This is the premise of my story for the "Storytelling & Commission" Project;

"One man's burning passion for his job is seen as insanity by few, and overlooked by many."

I am going to have the man be the "Hired Assassin" in my story, and the "few" be the wax characters. The man's job is to melt down the old wax figures when new ones need to be made, hence why to the waxwork figures, he's a "Hired Assassin".

I am thinking that I will stylise the short similar to the "Meet the Pyro" Animated Short from Valve, but instead of seeing things as overly cutesy and sweet, the man sees everything as the normal world, and the figures see the complete opposite.

This is a bit more over-the-top than how I would create my sequence, but I feel it is the best representative of it.

Camera Coverage

This is a video I edited together using playblasts from the "Camera Coverage" Maya tutorial

13 January 2017

Storytelling & Commission: Adobe Story Transcript

For this lesson we were tasked with creating a transcript of a 30-60 clip from a Film or TV Show. I chose to transcribe a segment from Episode 1 of Cowboy Bebop.

Storytelling & Commission: Soundscape Images (+First Draft of Soundscape #1)

These are the 3 images I was presented with on Tuesday. At the bottom of the post I have also included a "first draft" of my soundscape for the first image.

Image 1
Image 2
Image 3

The original sounds were me clinking the badges on my lanyard, rubbing a canvas bag, scrunching some plastic packaging and cracking my knuckles. After adding different reverbs, pitch shifts, chorus effects, delays and volume variations, this was my result.

11 January 2017

Fictional Creature Roar

This is a roar I created of a fictional creature in Adobe Audition. The creature I imagine would have this type of roar would be a bear with scales instead of fur.

10 January 2017

Storytelling & Commission: My 3 Story Words

The 3 words/phrases I picked out of the Blue Box were:

Character: Hired Assassin
Place: Waxworks
Prop: Box of Matches

Aside from the obvious of the Assassin using the matches to melt the Waxwork's figures, there are already a couple of ideas I am toying with on how to incorporate the different objects into the scene, and what kind of demeanour and personality the "Assassin" would have. Looking forward to creating the animatics and pre-viz!

Maya 101: Pre Viz - Roll Shot

These are a series of Playblasts I created in Maya in the "Roll Shot" scene. The first has no roll, the second rolls 180 degrees, the third rolls 360 degrees, and the fourth rolls 540 degrees.

9 January 2017

Maya 101: Pre Viz - Camera Rigs

These are some tests I did using the same Camera Rig. The first is a combination of Pan, Roll and Pitch changes, and the second one just being a pan.

8 January 2017

Black Narcissus: A Review

Fig 1. Black Narcissus Poster (1947)
Black Narcissus (Powell, Pressburger, 1947) is a film about a group of Nuns that travels off to a secluded area in the Himalayas to spread the word of their covenant to the locals. However, whilst they are there, some of the Nun's more animalistic and sexual desires come to light, as they learn to adapt to their vibrant yet lonely surroundings.

Something that Black Narcissus does well is provide a sense of scale and loneliness within the film. This is done very cleverly through the use of Matte Paintings on glass panels, which were positioned in front of the camera. Probably the best example of this is when one of the Nuns has to ring the bell outside the Convent. It appears to be on a very precarious and sheer cliffside, however, the drop in reality is only a few feet. Here is an example of how this was achieved using the Matte Painting technique:

Fig 2: Black Narcissus Before & After (1947)
"The mattes were by legendary British painter Walter Percy Day, another regular collaborator of Powell and Pressburger. Their work is both luxuriously detailed and extremely assertive. The most memorable use of these paintings is the famous shot of the drop down from Convent’s bell, which hangs just next to the edge."
-Walber (2016)

The films' matte paintings are some of the most impressive and recognisable mattes to come out of that era of cinema. There are many other occasions where the matte paintings are used seamlessly with the rest of the footage, such as the wide panoramic shots, giving the Convent a sense of isolation in the vast, rich landscapes.

Fig 3. Black Narcissus (1947)

One thing Black Narcissus did, that was extremely uncommon during the time period this film was released, is doubt/challenge people's belief in the Christian Faith. Throughout the film, there is an Agnostic character by the name of "Mr. Dean", who is effectively the Nun's liaison between the natives and themselves. He tries charming the women of the Convent, effectively luring them away from their faith. He is what tips Sister Ruth, the more vivacious one of the Nuns, over the edge, whether intentionally or not. She deserts the Convent, to go looking for him, to be with him. His charms almost work on Sister Clodagh, the Sister Superior, and although she has flashbacks to her former life and lover, something that obviously indicates her faith and devotion to the Convent is not as strong as it used to be, she is able to resist his temptations.

Along the course of the film, Mr. Dean begins to grow fond of Sister Clodagh, begins to care for her. He even, at one point, gives her a small nudge back in the direction of the church when she is unsure of what actions to take:
Sister Clodagh: Well I really don't know what to do.
Mr. Dean: What would Christ have done?
-Kerr & Farrar (1947)

Fig 4. Black Narcissus (1947)

Something that Black Narcissus does similarly to some films (such as The Shining [Kubrick, 1980] or 2001: A Space Odyssey [Kubrick, 1968]) is the magnitude in which it portrays this sense of alienation and loneliness. The wide, expansive shots of the Convent combined with the slow descent into madness some of the Nuns experience drives home how deeply they are being affected by their surroundings. Even though they are surrounded by each other and by the people they have come to teach and convert, several of the Nuns end up in their own little world, separate from the others. Like Sister Philippa, who ends up being so enraptured by the sky and her surroundings that she replaces all the food in the garden with flowers. Small things like this show a more realistic, gradual descent into madness.

Fig 5. Black Narcissus (1947)

  • Kerr, D. & Farrar, D. Black Narcissus (1947) Directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger [DVD] United Kingdom: The Archers, Independant Producers
  • Walber, D. (2016) The Furniture: Black Narcissus's Maddening Matte Paintings [online blog] At: http://thefilmexperience.net/blog/2016/5/23/the-furniture-black-narcissuss-maddening-matte-paintings.html (Accessed on 08.01.2017)

Illustration List:
  • Figure 1: Black Narcissus (1947) [Poster] At: http://assets.flicks.co.nz/images/movies/poster/70/70afbf2259b4449d8ae1429e054df1b1_500x735.jpg (Accessed on 08.01.2017)
  • Figure 2: Black Narcissus (1947) [Before & After Image] At: https://i.imgur.com/z107PfS.jpg (Accessed on 08.01.2017)
  • Figure 3: Black Narcissus (1947) [Film Still] At: http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/709071/27037579/1463947079430/black-narcissus-model.png  (Accessed on 08.01.2017)
  • Figure 4: Black Narcissus (1947) [Film Still] At: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/1d/d6/ba/1dd6baec2b90d28613a3c832c5226b8f.jpg (Accessed on 08.01.2017)
  • Figure 5: Black Narcissus (1947) [Film Still] At: http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/709071/27037581/1463947356343/black-narcissus-philippa.png (Accessed on 08.01.2017)

4 January 2017

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover: A Review

Fig 1. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover Poster, 1989
In this review, I shall be looking at "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover" (Greenaway, 1989). This film is a strange and surreal drama, focusing on the restaurant "Le Hollandais", a very high-class restaurant owned by the very low-class Albert Spica (Michael Gambon). On one particular visit to the restaurant, his wife, Georgina (Helen Mirren), starts having an affair with one of the regular patrons, Michael (Alan Howard), a man the complete opposite of her husband. This affair continues within the restaurant, in the toilets and kitchen, and out of the restaurant, at Michael's bookstore. Real feelings between the two of them begin to develop, putting both their lives at risk.

Fig 2. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

"Color has been used by Greenaway [...] to also neutralize environments to create focus for the characters and also add a surreal quality to the scene"
-asmarchitecture, 2010

The cinematography of this film is created and presented masterfully. In every shot there is always one predominant, striking colour - Green in the Kitchen, Red in the Dining Area, and White in the Bathrooms/Toilets. Each of these colours play a significant role to the area they are assigned to - Red for the lust that Georgina and Michael first experience and hint at whilst sitting tables apart in the restaurant, White being used to signify what should be the purity & sanctity of the different bathrooms, and Green for the jealousy that Albert experiences when he finds out of the affair. The character's costumes change to match these colours, apart from Michael's, showing that he is the one constant Georgina has in this world of turmoil she is in.

Fig 3. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, 1989

This use of changing colour also portrays the change within the characters themselves, and what their fate will ultimately be;

"In the film, all characters that do not change die; those who adapt survive… Michael, whose habits and dress had been most regular, also dies. He had worn the same suit every evening, and this consistency distinguishes him from other characters that undergo a series of costume changes even within the same scene. In the long and complicated opening sequence, Georgina’s dress appears black to Albert although she calls it dark blue; it is green in the kitchen, red in the dining room, and white in the bathroom. Michael always wore brown. Even when he is naked, his skin has a light brown hue, in the raw and in the cooked state… Richard the cook undergoes a transformation, too, from passive observer to active participant. His black tuxedo not only marks the final scene as ceremonial but also identifies the theme of change as momentous for the entire film. This is the first time that he wears anything other than chef’s white."
- Winkler, 2001

It is obvious from this that the use of colour, and them changing, was of utmost importance when creating this film. It allows for a much deeper, more subliminal message to be portrayed on the screen, whilst still focussing the audience on the action and characters within the scene.

Fig 4. (Nyman, 1989)

The music that plays during the film adds to the brashness and vulgarity of certain scenes. The "main" song that was used is "Memorial", by Michael Nyman, originally recorded in 1984 but first commercially available on the soundtrack of this film.. The stabbing strings and high-pitched wails, accompanied by the bassier undertones really compliment what is happening on screen. "Memorial" greatly affected Greenaway, who decided to model parts of the film on the composition, and actually directed/choreographed the final sequence around the 5th movement of the piece, where the song has ramped up the harshness to the ears.

  • Winkler, M. (2001) Classical myth & culture in the cinema. Retrieved: January 4th 2017
  • asmarchitechture (2010) The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover – Use of Color as a metaphor for transformation [online blog] At: https://asmarchitecture.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/the-cook-the-thief-his-wife-and-her-lover-use-of-color-as-a-metaphor-for-transformation/ (Accessed on 04.01.2017)
Illustration & Music List
  • Figure 1. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) [Poster] At: http://cdn.miramax.com/media/assets/The-Cook-The-Thief-His-Wife-and-Her-Lover1.png (Acessed on 04.01.2017)
  • Figure 2. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) From: The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, Allarts. Directed by: Peter Greenaway. [Film Still] Great Britain: Allarts (Accessed on 04.01.2017)
  • Figure 3. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) From: The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, Allarts. Directed by: Peter Greenaway. [Film Still] Great Britain: Allarts (Accessed on 04.01.2017)
  • Figure 4. Nyman, Michael (1989) Memorial In: The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover: Soundtrack London: (Publisher Unknown)