Idol Features: Sarah French

Check out Sarah's latest interview...Idol Features: Sarah French

Moooo!

Tested my first node on the render farm (Vue calls them rendercows). This is a second computer that is dedicated to rendering, so now I get more nodes for my farm and this cuts my render times down dramatically.

New article

A nice little article about Insectula! at livingdeadmedia.com
Thanks guys!


And here is a follow up!
http://www.livingdeadmedia.com/horror-indie-short-films/277-petersoninterview.html

Uggh!

If anyone reads this they know I'm obsessed with the three-strip Technicolor process and am applying it to Insectula! The way I've been doing it has been cumbersome and hit or miss. Well I found a new easy method that works like a charm, and one would think I'd be all happy...except this means revisiting all my color correction and redoing it. Still I'm so grateful this will cut my color correction time way down.

Beach Shoot

Finally! The sun cooperated and we got the beach shoot done!


No Beach Shoot :(

The sun didn't comply so the beach shoot was cancelled. Instead you get another pict from the Vertigo dream sequence:


Funny thing though, in looking at the stats for this blog I noticed when I put a picture of my daughter that pageviews for that page go through the roof compared to everything else. I wonder what will happen when I put up picts of her in the bikini from the upcoming beach shoot?

The Art of Camp

While it may look easy, camp is difficult to do well. There is an art to camp. Most attempts go over the top too quickly: ”If I put this flying saucer on a string it will be really funny because it looks so bad.”
It isn’t. The person attempting this is mocking and there is no love. Ed Wood originally was not intending it to be funny when he did this, and because he was genuinely trying to create a serious illusion he was creating kitsch or na├»ve camp.
Deliberate camp needs to be either much more subtle or go far in absurdity to stay effective and interesting.  John Waters, Andy Warhol, George and Mike Kuchar were all able to take their films into the absurd territory, while others like John Huston’s Beat the Devil play it down. To be effective, camp takes an intricate knowledge of the material it alludes to and Huston’s send up of his own movies prove that out.
Insectula! rides the subtle approach and its allusion to the B-movies of the 50’s, Rodger Corman’s films of the 60’s, and even more modern horror films is always done out of love for the original material. The goal is never to mock or trivialize the original, but to self-consciously emulate the more endearing aspects of it.
Camp in and of itself can wear thin and because of that Insectula! moves beyond the send up and elicits emotions from the audience. There are moments when the audience will jump, laugh, gross out and possibly cry and while some of these are difficult to do within a camp setting, it is important to keep the movie multi-dimensional.
The three-strip Technicolor and Eastmancolor look that is used not only enhances the campy feel of the material but is used because I simply love the bold colors those processes used to create. The greens and reds that are lost in many of the current Hollywood releases are prominent.
The movies Insectula! alludes to had one common goal, to keep the audience entertained. This is the main purpose of Insectula!, however, another goal is to show how much this style of movie making is missed.

Anne Marie Gillen

I’m happy to announce Anne Marie Gillen has joined Insectula as Executive Producer. She has produced hit movies such as Academy Award nominated Fried Green Tomatoes, Under Suspicion with Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman, and others. Anne Marie is also the author of Variety’s “The Producer's Business Handbook - 3rd Edition”.

Latest shoot

Did some greenscreening yesterday and doing my take on the Vertigo dream sequence with Del.
I'll tweek the colors and contrast a bit later but you get the gist. Next weekend shooting some stuff for the guys...very hot!

Horror Blogs

A couple of German sites write about the trailer:
horrorblog.org
splatter-movies.com

Makeup test

Shoot cancelled today because of storms so I shot a quick makeup test with my daughter Arielle who is playing Britney Sax (she was already in makeup when the shoot cancelled):


A result of top-of-the-line genes.

Gramophone

Bought a gramophone kit and aged it and made a nice wooden base for it. It's for Dr. Kempler's dictation scene we are shooting today. Thought it looked cool.


Color Correction

Can I spend five days rotoscoping and color correcting one 18 second shot?

Sure I can.*

*this is what happens when you don't plan properly and figure "I'll do something in post". I have learned now to be very careful and plan how I will do it in post before I shoot.

On the plus side I made the leap to After Effects CS5 and the rotobrush tool will make my life much better.

Century College

Visited the lecture halls at Century College and they look good for my upcoming scene. I'm realizing that this scene is only five minutes long, has five differant locations and really is informing the audience of something that could have been done very quickly with some dialog...but what would be the fun in that? Plus it sets up a nice mood and has a couple of scares in it too.

Details

Busy working on the pubic hair for the zombie in Insectula. It's that attention to detail that will give the movie that extra zing.

For geeks only...

Good things coming in the next few weeks for my Canon 60D. First there is the Technicolor camera style to be released on April 30th. They claim it gives the camera more latitude which is very exciting (latitude is kind of the last domain separating the cheaper digital cameras from film. *There is also moire that the Canon cameras have but is gone on the new Panasonic GH2 and AF100).

Also the hackers at Magic Lantern are almost done with the 60D hack, which is something that gives all kinds of great tools for filmmakers to that camera.

These are the kind of things that get someone like me so excited I have trouble sleeping at night.

I'm serious, and I realize that is so pathetic. I am legend geek.

Technicolor

I've been studying 3-strip Technicolor emulation for quite a long time. At least a good chunk of Insectula will be using a Technicolor algorithm and possibly the whole thing. It is more complex than just the algorithm though, colors still have to be manipulated as when real Technicolor was shot heavy makeup was used that was specifically designed for it and colors in the set were controlled to the point where the Technicolor consultant had control of the look of the picture. I don’t have the time or resources but I’m doing my best to emulate.

Here is one of my Technicolor discussion threads:
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?225115-Three-Strip-Technicolor&highlight=technicolor

What I’m very sick of is the orange/teal color schemes of almost every Hollywood production in the last decade. Greens are lost. Hollywood doesn’t like green anymore and has decided green is old. Instead they want the skin tones to “pop out”. Red is also secondary to Hollywood. I will be happy when this current crop of colorists are replaced with people who understand color and don’t cookie-cutter every movie.

Couples Retreat was the worst offender of this BTW. It was almost like they only had only two colors in the whole move and it was so glaring that it almost became difficult to watch.

EDIT: I just watched The Rite...equally as offensive.

Here is someone who really understands color: Color Theory for Cinematographers (he isn't afraid of green!)

Here is one of my first passes of my latest scene:

Rotoscoping

There are few things in life that I find as tedious as rotoscoping. Rotoscoping is tracing a line around an object to mask it out. This involves doing this to moving objects, sometimes to place it in another scene but more often than not just for differences in color correction. Since I’m color correcting the crap out of this, I’m tracing every little movement in almost 50% of the shots and it is painfully slow.

I really need After Effects CS5, but all my plugins are for CS3 :(

Latest Shoot

It was a bit grueling and went into the wee hours but we got some fantastic stuff.

Biology

To toot my own horn, a lot of the Insectula footage is really impressive and the 3D rendering is comparable to footage that would normally cost thousands of dollars to produce. So when I show it to people, sometimes I expect questions like “How did you do that?” etc.

But that’s usually not the case.

Instead I normally get comments like: “Wow, she’s really hot!” or “Where did you find her?” or “The girls are GORGEOUS!”

I understand. Insectula will be easy on the eyes in all aspects. Don’t worry I will keep up the good work.

Sparky the explosion

When you’re compositing you become intimately familiar with the footage you’re working with. There is an explosion I used which I renamed “Sparky” so I could find it better in my collection. I’ve become familiar with Sparky’s signature, the way it moves, how long it is etc. Sparky is clearly the best, has a nice little spark shower, but not too much. In the explosion world Sparky has class.

Apparently others think so too. I’ve seen Sparky in three blockbuster movies so far: Machete, Battle: Los Angeles and another that I can’t think of right now. I’m not looking for Sparky but all of a sudden there it is. If there ever were an award for explosions Sparky would win hands down.

Here is a screen from Machete along with Sparky in its raw form:

Texture

I just had to post this frame grab because I love the texture of the creature. It's a shot from a quick animation at the beginning of the film so you don't really get to notice the detail.
It's funny because I tried to add digital wetness to the texture (I like to make things slimy) but like in real life it just sucked it up. You can tell what the texture would feel like if you ran your fingers over it.

First frame

I won a little recognition for my first frame of Insectula (actually it's about the 20th frame) on Cornucopia3d.com, a site run by the makers of the software I use. Got the "Cream of the Crop" award, which is cool because they generally only recognize pretty sweet images.


They asked if I wanted to do a tutorial on how I did it but there really isn't any good payoff. See how I won't work for free but expect everyone else to?

Shoot on Saturday April 9th

Shooting in a fantastic house/museum on April 9th for a scene where the Dr. plays his grand piano and we see flashbacks of his past. Should be very fun and maybe a little creepy. This is the first of several shoots that will compose this scene.

The good Dr. will be playing Rachmaninov's Prelude in C sharp Minor and it will become his themesong with variations of the main riff appearing throught the movie.

We also have a special guest playing the part of the dean of the school in another segment of the same scene...I'd tell you who, but it's a secret ;)

I'm serious...stop asking. I ain't gonna tell you.

ETA

A lot of people have been asking when Insectula will be finished and there is no simple answer. It is being done by me in my spare time. The CGI rendering is being rendered on one single machine and takes days for a few seconds to complete. The bulk of the movie takes place in summer and so we will have to wait to shoot those scenes. I am trying for sometime in 2011 is all I can offer. Even though the process is slow it WILL be done.

People also ask what movie I can compare it to. I guess the closest feeling-wise would be the Dr. Phibes movies. I'm shooting for that type of atmosphere/sensibility.

Our Characters

The four main characters are:

Dr. Heinrich Johann Kempler III (Harrison Matthews)
Dr. Kempler is an intellectual of the highest order. He comes from the University of East Anglia and was one of the initial proponents of the theory of global warming. In his view everything bad that happens can be traced back to man’s assault on nature. Dr. Kempler feels most everyone is beneath him and is prone to making stuff up to support his beliefs because the end always justifies the means.

He was expelled from the University for aggressively pushing his “solution” for anthropogenic global warming of killing off most of the population of the earth to save the planet.

(or did something more sinister happen?)

Dr. Kempler also lacks any empathy and cannot understand feelings others are having, so he makes inappropriate comments and gestures do to his lack of understanding of other humans.


EPA Agent Aldo Del Biondo (Del) (Pasquale Pilla)
Agent Del Biondo is a regional EPA director and reports directly to the President. He has unlimited powers and can lock up anyone at anytime if they piss him off. He is antagonistic and prone to yelling instead of discussing. He has a drinking problem and tries to hide it ineffectively. He is not open to any help, suggestions or aid of any kind. He lost his love and another friend to the creature so he has a personal vendetta against it.


Britney Sax (Arielle Cezanne)
Britney is a motivated assistant to Dr. Kempler. She is good looking and eager to please. She has a blind spot seeing the leering that is focused in her direction and believes people are genuine and honest. She begins to realize that Dr. Kempler is less than honest and she wants to look out for the people. In the end she chooses helping others over her job. She falls in love with…


Jackson Pierce (?)
Jackson is the local TV reporter. He takes his job very seriously but realizes he needs some more meaty stories to pad his resume. He also is a man of the people and believes in helping others, but is more hesitant to sacrifice than Britney. Britney helps him along in this area. Jackson will take more chances however, and is not afraid to fight. He is a man’s man.

As you can see we are still looking for our fourth lead.

Back Attack!

Poor Yasmin has a bit of trouble with our alien.