Friday, 7 December 2012


Wally Pfister

Walter Pfister is an Academy Award-winning American cinematographer and director, best known for his work on Christopher Nolan's films, including MementoInsomniaBatman BeginsThe PrestigeThe Dark KnightInception, and The Dark Knight Rises. Pfister is also known for his work on director F. Gary Gray's The Italian Job and Bennett Miller's Moneyball

His work is amazing, him and Nolan are perfect match in filmmaking in terms of director and Cinematographer. Looking at Nolan's films you see a cold lighting. He loves using blues in cinematography.
Chris talks about his meet up with him he saw The Hi-Line, which premiered at the nearby Sundance Film Festival. “I thought it was a beautifully executed film that was clearly produced with limited resources,” recalls Nolan. “I had to meet the guy who shot it.” He worked with him in his film Memento and since then, they been working together in every Christopher Nolan's project.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Tracking Part 2


One of the videos I wanted to create a lighting effect onto the antena part top of the building like the movies where lightings and explosions happen ontop of tall buildings with a needle

My tracking didnt turn out good, it got messed up and went off track.

Orb Effect

I had reorded some videos that I wated to use for adding effects I learnt from online tutorials. One of the videos was this shot at sunset outside the University. I saw a tutorial online about creating a spinning tornado like effect and thought i might use it for this shot.

One of the problems i had faced was there was a border line  where the orb wasn't expanding wider. I tried to mask it and feather to soften the edges but it didn't work as i wanted. I followed the tutorial exactly and then i added  the eefct onto the video. I think I should have done it ontop of the video it would have turned out much better.

Falling ( green screen )

I downloaded a green screen footage online to practice my green screen keying out and background replacements. I found this great video which was used as a promo for some website. The whole concept was about a guy over-hearing another talking about his problems with a website server during a sky diving session.

First I did was key out the green properly using key-light effect and then add in the sky background to make it look believable and actually skydiving 

I added curves effect and Tint to come up with a believable colour tone that matches both the actors and the background. also I added wiggle for both the actor footage and the background both being different movements, to create camera shake and movement which sells the video of the guys falling.

Lastly I added an adjustment layer of which I added a lens flare and light to the bottom right to give the source of light. Overall I was satisfied with the outcome as I got to learn a lot about editing and staging it to sell the story.

One of my weekly tutorial I had with my group they suggested I looked at Video CoPilot for tutorials on green screen. I had already learnt how to keyout green but in this website I learnt about feathering out the spill of green and to remove all green from the shot throught alpha channel and increasing the whites and  the blacks to be solid, in this case the white is green and black is the rest of footage.

Filming Tips/Background Replacement

If you can extend out to a wide shot to establish your world, it would definitely be way more convincing and will add a lot of production value

Difference in using some wide angle shot to the video than using just close up shot, it will work and tell your story but the wide angle makes the story more relevant to the audience and familiarize with the environment, which will get the audience invested a lot more.

When talking about filming and setting up his effect shots and position, he talks about how having your focal point (where audience should be looking) whole in shot without effect to be added later makes it simpler

Always turns out better than green screening since most of your actors body if not all is actually against the background your wanting to put them in, so the attention to your audience is on them (actor) and not the places that you’re adjusting. So any strings that your showing usually gets overlooked

what this implies is that sometimes small effects add more to the story and action in the background even though you want the audience to focus on something else. The audience’s mind picks up these small details whilst focusing on something else. Even though the changes might be small, its still makes the scene more convincing.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Inspirational Director- Mathew Vaughn

Looking at a young filmmaker, you often go to the ones you think are inspiring and have potential of being great. Mathew Vaughn, best known for his films X-Men: First Class and Kick Ass, I believe is someone to look out for in future. He knows storytelling and how to use visuals. One of my favourite film of his was Stardust, it is a mixture of fairy tale with great story and just the right amount of comedic stuff. His visual style is excellent, even with a good budget he manages to attracts big name actors and able to tell story through amazing visual effects.

He knows what he wants and how the look he is trying to go for that will contribute towards portraying the story. Looking at interview from Sky Movies Premier about making X-Men: First Class, he talks about the look of it and that he wanted to give it a “Bond look” and that he was inspired by James Bond films, and looking at the film you see those inspirations he looked at. There is elegant look, very clean visuals and cinematography. Bond films have always been about style and gadgets shown in an elegant way, almost looks like and advertisement.

Everyone knows now with CG, whatever you can think of it you can it, and I just don’t think the audience are impressed with it anymore. They are impressed when they’re given a good story, they’re impressed when they can relate emotionally to the characters” 9:38minThese days its got to a point which anything imaginable can be achieved through special effects. What the director means by "audience aren't that impressed" with special effects, he means special effects shouldn't be the driving force of the movie or anything you trying to make. Ideas are what make audience get into it. Once the idea and story is interesting, audience can over-look the effects because they already invested in the story, the effects are to show or give an idea to us visually.

The movie X-Men First Class was critically and box office successful, even though we know X-Men is about special effects and seeing our lovable characters do cool stuff, we also care about 'how' and 'why' its happening. Also believability has become something we all ask ourselves while watching, "could this happen?" and if could, "would I have done the same as the character?” Through years of movies, great stories and ideas. We have learnt a lot. What the director mentions about the story being the key driving force and not effects, is that we don't like to treated stupid, we appreciate being treated intelligent having us invested and feel we belong in the universe presented to us.

I agree in some extend his approach towards Effects. Otherwise, effects come hand in hand with story. Looking at Sci-Fi movies or any creature movies, if the creatures or aliens do not look convincing enough to scare or interest the audience then the whole crew behind the film has failed. You cannot have a good story with bad visuals or vice versa, they both have to compliment each other. Visual Effects does not have to be realistic, but if it is close to it then we can let it pass. This brings back classic movies like Jurassic Park and Jaws during Steven Spielberg’s time, his movies delivered great stories with great visuals. 

Aauteur: Steven spielberg

Steven Spielberg is an inspirational figure. His films are among the best ever made and the net gross of them speaks for themselves, he smashed records after records his films. From the big honors like Oscars, and Golden Globes, to small achievements awards.  
Even Mr. Spielberg himself seem to have gone off road in terms of his ideas as he became more established Director and the studios gave him more budget and freedom. He gave a great speech after presented by an award, and he talked about many things, including his early work and what got him into filmmaking.

Looking back at his early life of making small budget shorts and TV, he mentioned his first short he made for his boys scout he was in and the response he got “ They laughed both with and at the movie and I didn’t care, it was a response, and the response set me on fire”.  His obsession with the audience and how he loved getting feedback and looking into his target audience made him more interested in making more things. He enjoyed people’s reaction and that made him more interested in what other people thought. “ I never wanted to live without some kind of affirmation, some kinds of collective feedback” He mentions feedback which meant a lot to him and showing it to his boy scout meant that the feedback he got whether it was laughing or any response was genuine. That is why we all ask closest people to us for some feedback because it comes from within, Honesty comes from those who Love and care for you.

He carries on to talk about how his research towards his target audiences, “ maybe that’s why my early movies were all about you (the audience), making you my partners, thinking about you behind the camera, thinking what would turn you on, what would get you exited, what would make you laugh, scream and how can I create suspense”

I believe that says a lot about Directors and what happens to them later on. He mentions that his early work were all about us the audience; he researched into ways to play with people’s feelings and emotions through story telling. The fact that he mentions his early work was all about us, he acknowledges that he rather wondered off to doing what he thought was a dream job and hoping we like it. His early works were memorable and have been in the ‘classics’ lists and ‘masterpiece’. As he became better known and production value of his films grew, it became all about visuals and less ideas. His recent masterpiece was over ten years now, Catch me If You Can, and that was a period piece drama. It seems to have lost the touch in terms of the Sci-Fi genre, but he never lost his touch for drama.

In addition, that proves a point that budget does affect the story. The bigger the budget, directors happen to focus on making the film look good instead of what the message it about or what they trying to show us. Looking back at E.T, you get a pure hearted simple and sweet film, about kids having parental problems and having hard time trusting adults. Having heard his speech about his childhood life, his father being away a lot and having to figure out things himself, I believe the kids are representatives of himself as kid. E.T is masterpiece of animatronics (the alien) it moved and expressed itself as human being even though you knew there were people pulling the wires behind. “It turned me into an 11-year-old when I first saw them."

During the shoot of Real Steel (2011), the actor Hugh Jackman claimed Mr Spielberg contribution to CGI and Robots, is that they use a genuine Robot. Make an actual Robot to use in the film shoot. "[Steven] found with Jurassic Park that the more real elements you can have, the better it is,"

Case Study Notes

                                           Matrix Reloaded and Revolution

Not focused on story, but rather a lot of bad VFX, turned out to be a big
Visual eye-candy with no ideas.

Advertisement piece Neo fighting thousands of Agents- goes on far too long for a scene (more money for visual effects to make the scene gone to waste) and did not contribute much to the plotline.

                                 Transformers: Dark of The Moon

Watching these movies is like watching a 5 year old playing with action figures

                     ILM - The Magic Behind the VFX of Transformers Revenge of the Fallen