After numerous takes of my spitting out some foul tasty diluted fake blood, we were happy with the final result, complete with epic lens flare and door kicking. The lens flare even serves an important story function of obscuring the antagonist's face and keeping his identity secret to the audience. Unfortunately a couple of shots are over-exposed and out of focus but the hand-held style and pacey editing both help hide these little slip ups.
This is the first draft which we showed Frankie, he liked the style and temporary music, but wanted us to add a couple of shots and change the order to better clarify the relationship between our only two characters. Though to me its fairly clear who is chasing who, Frankie felt that captions and additional footage is needed. We shall see.
Torture Island (First Draft) from Hugh Herbert on Vimeo.
We've talked about pushing the hyperbolic B-movie style aesthetic that we seem to have developed, plus that takes the pressure off any story shortcomings. I have a list of excuses for the story which keep circling round my head, there's nothing wrong with the story, apart from the fact is slightly pointless, but its not really a story at all. Its just a plot. There is no underlying message, over arcing theme, or any redeeming value to what is currently just a series of events that are presented in a mildly thrilling way. Story is really important to me and its something I'm dying to explore and develop but I've found this cinematography project something of a false vessel for my narrative hopes.
|The Panasonic P2 camera that we've all been using|
Meanwhile on The Last Trophy more scenes are becoming available for me to light as geometry and textures are still getting churned out. While this is a fairly simple outdoor scene (in terms of lighting, obviously there are a lot of complex models) I've been trying to exaggerate the bounce light off the plants and bring out their wide range of colours, while this sometimes looks like a disco in the shadows, it looks vibrant and alive in other places. I'll have to work on finding a balance.
|Looking more like sand dunes than anything at this point...|
|Boosted saturation on the Physical Sky node for extra green undersides on the mushrooms|
|Winch, complete with shadows, final gather and reflections.|
|Tweaked lighting, better reflections, no shadows or final gather on the ground though.|
The upside is I've discovered some really really useful shaders in the production library, not least my new best friend, mip_motionblur! This is basically vector based motion blur that's applied to the image at render time, it has all the positives of doing it in post (the smoothness, the customisation, the ridiculous amount of render time saved) and none of the hassle. Genius. This is getting closer to the finished look, the final gather is a bit much in places and I've had to turn it off for a couple of things as it looks like sawdust coming of the brighter objects:
|Final Gather, all in your face|
At GDC there were some really interesting talks and panels that I would've have given anything to attend. Among them was a talk by legendary game designer and advocate of procedural narrative Clint Hocking, here are some notes from someone who was actually there.
Though none of the trailers really communicated the sheer amount of style and personality contained in the film, I went to see Rango and was really surprised how awesome it was, visually stunning, hilarious, and quirky enough to have the characters stick in your mind it was refreshing.
I was reading a fascinating blog post by one of the designers at Frictional Games, the guys who made Amnesia: Dark Descent, about the essence of story, and how not only game's but other media, make the mistake of assuming that plot is story. Plot is merely the events that string the audience along from moment to moment, while story is the themes at the heart of it. Worth a read as its said better than that and in a more refined manner. This lead me to purchase Amnesia, which I'd read plenty of good things about anyway, in the hope I could witness some of this designer's narrative first hand. Though I feared for my sanity slightly. So I've taken some screen shots to document it:
|The night I quit in a panic, only to have this greet me on my next play through...|
|Flashback Motion Trails and Colour Correction|
|Peering into the darkness|
|Insanity Distortion, Perspective Warp, and a nasty scratching sound.|
|This area is "brightly lit" and that yellow thing is the commentary|
And finally a nice little article on a game design challenge where some prominent developers in the Indie scene were charged with making a religious game or mod for GDC, Jason Rohrer won with a minecraft mod that has an interesting story behind it's making.