October 2005 Archives
The start of another week! The weekend passed by uneventfully, albeit with a copious amount of relaxing! I'm one of seven artists left in what's called Bay 4 Lower. Four of us are doing some R&D and spec work for a feature that we're bidding on. Lots of cool environmental development. The other three are on Charlotte's Web.
I'm also continuing to work on this little Sundance project that is due in the middle of the month of November. Everything looks pretty nice, and it's a much different project than the more real imagery that I've been doing in the past. We met with our director on Friday for an hour, and she gave us some insightful feedback into our work which was half completed. We're still dialing in the looks for some of the shots, but overall she was really happy.
Charlotte's Web is looking quite nice (I'm always saying that!). All the dynamic effects work that's been rendered look amazing. I wish I could tell you all more. I'm still working on this film, and finalled my first shot last week! I still have ten that are in various stages of completion, and will be finalling another two sometime next week. The rest of the shots are currently in animation and lighting.
Saw a bunch of movies this weekend to commemorate this pagan holiday; The Shining, The Amityville Horror, Final Destination, to name a few. Tonight we'll be sitting down and watching Hide and Seek. I've heard mixed reviews out there, so I'll leave judgement until the end via this quote from George Carlin.
"I'm never critical or judgmental about whether or not a movie is any good. The way I look at it, if several hundred people got together every day for a year or so -- a number of them willing to put on heavy makeup, wear clothes that weren't their own and pretend to be people other than themselves -- and their whole purpose for doing this was to entertain me, then I'm not gonna start worrying about whether or not they did a good job. The effort alone was enough to make me happy."
The middle of the week is here (already!), and I'm working away inside on this rainy Wednesday. One of my first film shots is up for approval this morning, with another two to be finalled by the end of the week!
The last time I worked on a film project was way back at the beginning of this year, when we were wrapping up Constantine. It's been a slow year (work-wise) for me, but lots of little accomplishments have occurred. I'm hoping that next year will be much busier.
I'm starting to get together all the films I've worked on to so I can start cutting my annual reel. Constantine and Sharkboy will be added, and some old shots will be cut. I might add some commercial work if I can get a copy of them after they air. I'm listening to new music to cut to as well.
A cool clip this morning, from my weekend out on the field. A 76MB, two minute mpeg from my point of view. Check it out!
Movable Type (the blog software I use to run this site) has upgraded their software to version 3.2. I'm unsure as whether I want to upgrade this blog. There are numerous advantages of course, and I've already done an upgrade for another blog that I manage, and it went without a hitch. Upgrades include better entry management, more control over spam and commenting, and a couple of other improvements that I haven't read about in depth yet.
Wow. The week is just flying by. My first week back on Charlotte's, and I've got a bunch of shots to complete. At this time it's mostly rough, temp comps. Basically plate assembly and pretty much getting things cleaned up and prepped for matchmove to take the next step.
So far I've been tasked with completing ten shots (so far this week!). Four are leftovers from a previous comper who has since gone down under to work at WETA to help finish up that project. The other six are new shots, which I have some time to complete. The first of them isn't due until next week. All the work that's been done so far has looked amazing. The TDs are lighting some really sweet shots. I had a chance to take a look at all the sequences we're working on, and they're pretty dope. Most of the voice work is pretty good. R&H are probably doing the animals, since they're experts at it since the Babe days.
This evening we have our wrap party/dinner for the Chevy Impala crew in downtown San Francisco. Should be a fairly small gathering, but it will be fun! The word is that the first of the spots will be shown on Saturday during the World Series, and the second one will be shown early next week.. I'm guessing the Tuesday. Keep an eye out for the two of them! They'll be up on the Tippett website once they've been aired, so keep checking there too. I'm not a huge fan of baseball, so I won't see it when it airs. I'll be too busy geeking out on Civ3 or Quake4. Or maybe for a change, hanging out with my girl.
It's a new week, and I'm on the next show! Charlotte's Web has been running smoothly, and I've just started on it this morning. I'm just finishing up some archiving for the last Impala spot, which successfully delivered on Friday. I'm not sure when these last two spots will air, but you'll probably see them on TV before I tell you!
The stuff that we're doing on Charlotte's Web is amazing. I can say that I'm a little biased, of course. We, along with a couple of other vendors, Rising Sun in Sydney and Rhythm & Hues in LA, are completing the work. Proof and Fuel are the two other facilities listed in IMDB as well. The release date for Charlotte's Web is June 23, 2006. We're doing quite a bit of shots, but we should be in good shape for our delivery. I'm definitely not sure if I'll be leading on this show, but that's ok. I've had a small run at it, and I enjoyed it. I think I'm in the pool of leads that can be chosen for the next show, so that's great. Time will tell which show it'll be!
So while I wait for my last couple Impala shots to get finalled and shipped out the door, I can't help but wonder how it's like at other facilities under a deadline like this, or even other industries.
For a commercial project (of which I've only recently been used to), it seems our shots are seldom finalled by the director. We answer to a higher power, the client and their ad agency. Throughout these three Chevrolet spots, we've always delivered on time, and the agency and GM have always loved our work. There's never a period of time for feedback, at least much less than there is in a film! It's a very weird sensation, to create an awesome shot, approve it inhouse and send it out, only to hear no notes. I have a feeling that the commercials are bullet points somewhere in some meeting or memo, saying that the next Impala commercial has been completed, and will now be on TV. Who knows. Luckily we're not under any stress. There's a short team finishing up the spot this week, just my supervisor, myself, and my producer. We have a TD on call, but he's been on another show this week.
My brother is in town this weekend hanging out with us. He works on the other end of the computer entertainment industry, in games. He's a technical artist (modelling, texturing, animating) over at Rainbow Studios in Phoenix, and has been there for close to five years. He's a talented guy, and it's interesting to note that we as siblings are into this whole CG thing (games/films/digital media) together! It's definitely cool to hear how they're working on a new game for the XBox 360 and the PS3, and how these new console machines are going to be amazing pieces of hardware! It will be a little bit expensive for my taste. My only consoles are the PS2 and the Neo Geo (with the SEGA Genesis and the Atari 2600 now retired from my collection), with the PSP here for some portable gaming.
It's Wednesday, the hump of the week. I'm working away on our last commercial for GM. Two more shots that need to be completed for our Friday delivery. And then I move onto Charlotte's Web next week!
The independent Sundance film that a bunch of us are doing has a deadline of early next month. Our director will be coming at the end of this month to tell us if we're on the right track with our effects. I completed a temp shot over lunch yesterday that's pretty neat. I'm not sure if allowed to talk about this film, so I'll find out from our director when she comes in. The film hasn't been submitted to Sundance for qualification just yet, so our effects won't be in it when it is shown to the committee.
At the moment I'm listening to some ShoutCast radio while I do my work. ShoutCast has been around for a while. I remember listening to it back in Vancouver a mere three years ago, and recall racking up a HUGE amount of gigabytes downloaded (Think 40+ GB a month)! So much so that Shaw.ca called several times to find out why I downloaded so much. At least I wasn't serving it out! Shoutcast is streaming radio. On their website there are a wide range of channels that you can listen to, at various bit depths, of different music. My favorite channels that I've listened to over the years are mostly Digitally Imported and Groove Salad. Right now, it's Euro Trance on Digitally Imported FM. The great part of the channels that I'm listening to is that they have no commercials, and play mostly underground music (well, at least music I've never heard). This allows me to sample new music, and if I like it enough, I just jot the artist down and go web surfing to find the song. It's enabled me to find new tunes that my peers have never heard of; Dadamnphreaknoizfunk, Nautilus, Shpongle, Lemon Jelly, to name a few. Some of the sweetest music is underground.
Which brings up another topic. Just going to toss this out there, so feel free to comment. Would any of you be interested in a podcast of tips, tricks, and how-tos for Shake (or compositing in general)? This would enable you to learn while you listen. It could be beneficial, allowing people to learn about how to composite effectively without reading a book, and just by listening to my wonderful voice, guiding you through the tutorial. I'm going to look into it. I don't portray myself to be the be-all-know-it-all about visual effects, but who else is going to do it?
Ah. It's Friday again. And with the passing of another Friday comes the conclusion of another Impala spot. Our eight shots for the spot went fairly smoothly. We actually finished up everything last night, pending the view with the final cut. Any tweaks we do today will be last minute and minor. Out of the three remaining compers for the show, I'm the only one staying on to complete two extra shots from our second Impala commercial. It's possible that they wanted an alternate ending, so we're going to be doing that early next week.
In the interim after Impala, I'll be doing a shot with a bunch of other coworkers on a short film that will be entered into Sundance. The turnaround is pretty quick, and we're only doing six shots total. Should be a cool project!
Another swarm last night, this time only three of us tackled Redwood. It was fun, quick ride, probably at most an hour and a half. And of course, my light goes out 20 minutes from the end, and I get two flat tires. I definitely have to get a new battery pack, and new inner tubes.
A couple of commercials that we've been working on are now online! Check out the Tippett website to see the full commercial for the Impala SS and Milka!
The Milka commercial is called Downhill.. I did two shots in the spot. The one of the close up of the marmot on the bear, and the shot right after, as they careen down the side of the hill, all the while protecting the precious milk. Almost all, if not all, of our creature shots involved replacing the immediate sky and background, as well as adding additional camera pans and movement.
The Chevy Impala spot, Arrival, contains several neat shots. One is the opening shot I did, which involved converting a night timelapse into a dusk timelapse. A couple of the other shots I did in the spot include the one where the Impalas prance away from the car, and one immediately after that which shows the car's rear 3/4 view as the Impalas jump away. In addition, all the skies were replaced. They were originally dark skies, but we added our own LA skyline at dusk. A lot of the car was cleaned up to remove crew reflections, and add sweetener light passes from the multiple camera passes that were taken on set.
Coming soon to a TV near you, the remaining Chevy Impala spots that we're finishing up!
How do you guys use this software? I can't believe some people composite with this package. What a pain. After being spoiled silly with Flame and Shake, I don't see how AE can keep themselves up to par with the other packages! It's just not intuitive enough to pick and go with the flow.
The reason I'm ranting is because I just got a new G5 for my duties, and I've been playing around with AE 5.5 to do some collaborative work for some of my shots (namely, cheesy lens flares). It's such a pain to do simple things. Maybe Motion might give Shake a run for its money, but Apple owns them all, Motion, Shake, and After Effects. Each one is catered to a specific clientele, which is probably the reason why I never used AE in the past. I would rather comp via pen and paper than enter the mess that is AE. Aargh.
I'm not a regular user of IE, so I don't view this site with that browser. I mostly use Opera at home and Safari, Mozilla, or Firefox at work. So it came as quite a surprise when I viewed digitalGypsy for the first time on Internet Explorer.
Little did I know that it doesn't interpret CSS correctly! Either that or my coding works on every other browser except IE. If you can check to see if the main page displays correctly or incorrectly for you, please let me know (and what your browser is). The main page should display with entries on the left, and a sidebar on the right containing a bio, reel and artist link, and categories and other little bits. The majority of the users that hit this site use Firefox, with IE coming in second, so I'm surprised no one had commented on the messed up layout! The front page and subsequent pages look fine with Firefox.
Ah.. Head clear, smooth pavement, no traffic. I biked to work this morning. It took me all of about 10 minutes. I got up early, showered and got ready for my first commuter ride here in the Bay area.
It's amazing how refreshed you can feel after a quick workout in the morning! Tippett is two miles from my home, and I took two side streets to get to there. I think the only thing that slowed be down were the stop signs! It was a little brisk this morning, but the sun was shining brightly onto my left side, and everything went smooth. I will have to get a commuter bike map to figure out the best streets to go down without hitting a stop sign at every intersection. That would cut off my commute by a minute or two! I'm quite glad to not have to drive to work everyday now. It opens up a whole lot of options, and I will definitely be saving a little on gas! At least a whole gallon a week.