Slowly getting close to filming my 0.LDroid. As well as building the background character 5.L.Droid (or something) I’ve also been giving some thought to a set of sorts. Rather than building a complete set I’m going to be filming this against a black background with some minimal set details in the background. I can then fill in the surrounding black edges of the image with some details, perhaps warehouse walls or similar. It should be relatively straightforward to do this by overlaying .pngs with some transparency over the image. I don’t want to do anything too detailed, but rather give the impression of the surrounding environment. I want it to be quite dark and ominous.
To this end I’m going to be purchasing a black background. You can get a 6m x 3m backdrop for about £40 off ebay. I already have the stand so that should be more than enough. I can trim it to size (6m x 3m is way too big). I’m also going to be getting some gels (transparent coloured sheets to change the colour of the lights).
The horror film I did recently really showed me the value of good lighting. I didn’t really consider the effects I did for that project my best work (I didn’t think they were bad, but they’re not amongst my favourites) however having them lit and shot by a professional crew really elevated them to look much better than they otherwise would. Check out this still by the DOP Stephen Murphy. Looks fantastic.
Something that also really demonstrated this to me was a video by a very nice chap I met working on the film named Dominic Hailstone. The video’s called The Eel and is absolutely incredible, especially considering this was all done with puppets and animation with no CGI involved. Dominic is doing a short piece for the horror film so I’m very much looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.
All this has made me realise the problems with my previous projects; the lighting and camera work has never been very good. In my defence, the FX are my focus and I’ve never really learnt much in the way of lighting or camera work, only what I’ve had to out of necessity, however done properly they really do add so much to a project, so I’m determined to try. I usually just stick a light on it, make sure I can see it and crack on. Bit more thought on this aspect of the video this time round I think!
The pictures dotted about this article are my initial attempts. They were done with a simple red cloth chucked over the spot light I was using. I also used a blue LED torch to highlight the puppets face to make it stand out. I’m hoping for some slightly better shots once I’ve actually got hold of some less improvised kit!
For the ‘set’ I decided to incorporate the mold that I used to make the puppets into the film. The idea is that it’s a machine that produced copies of the droid. In a very real way, it is.
I have another motive for taking these pics; my brother (coincidentally as it happens) has almost finished writing his steampunk inspired album ‘Spinning the Compass‘. He’s nicked a pic for the cover of the album so I figured I’d do some slightly better ones he can use (these aren’t them though, so don’t nick these just yet Tom!). I’ll also likely be using some of his music for the vid.