COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 5:
Believe it or not this Teaser Trailer was created before we’d even begun writing the script!
‘Why?’ I hear you cry – well there’s a very good explanation…
So gather round children, it’s story time!
While brainstorming ideas for scenes, we developed a sequence where one of our characters phones a friend who works at a Radio Astronomy Observatory. We really loved this idea for the change in location it could offer the film, and how it would allow our three main characters to interact with another scientist on the other end of the phone; it could even offer some comic relief as this disembodied voice is caught snoozing during his night shift, instead of monitoring the radio dish array.
However we knew that if we used this scene, we’d somehow have to visually establish this ‘friends’ location and with his place of work being a Radio Astronomy Observatory, this meant inserting a shot into the edit of a suitably impressive dish pointing up to the night sky.
Although there are a few ‘real-world’ practical locations near us (which we are strongly considering for the shoot), we wondered whether this establishing shot could be achieved as a visual effect. So before committing to the scene, we downed our writing tools and I quickly mocked-up a visual effect shot in Blender to see if, in concept, we could create a ‘Big Dish’ against a starry sky.
After a few hours of tinkering, I was convinced that, in principal, with more time and a lot more work; the shot could be achieved if a practical location couldn’t be secured. So we agreed to add the scene into the film, and well, worry about it later! – That should have been the end of that. The exported mock-up shot sat on the desktop for a few days, when Elliot surprised me with this little Teaser he’d done for a bit for fun on a rainy (August?!) afternoon; with a bit of sound designing and a caption or two – a Teaser Trailer was born.
The program I used to create these early CG renders is Blender. Many of you will have undoubtedly heard of it, but for those who haven’t I’ll give you a quick rundown…
IT IS 100% FREE.
Yep, free to use for whatever project you’re working on big or small. It is frankly an amazing piece of software that gives us little folk the ability to make some pretty special stuff.
It’s not simple and at times it can be very daunting, but what new piece of software isn’t?! (especially 3D modelling/render software!). You can motion track, you can simulate smoke and fire, you can animate, sculpt, model, texture and render. It’s got it all and it’s the birth place of many new creative technicians.
If you’re interested about getting into the VFX industry, or simply fancy taking it up as a hobby I would strongly recommend heading over to the Blender site and downloading it now. Blender Guru and BlendTuts are easily the best free tutors you’ll find online; their tutorials have helped me immeasurably. There is also the BlenderArtists forum which is filled with like-minded individuals all out to help each other make the most amazing work possible.
We even use Blender on our Documentaries – I recently completed a selection of VFX shots for our Apollo 13 Documentary. So go check it out and have some fun!