Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chamber of the Zombies Recap (Clip 3 of 3)

by Aaron Mystery

I'm pleased to say I wrapped up and uploaded the aforementioned short CG vid "Chamber of the Zombies" today. It was a labor of love, in that I have wanted to do a pure zombie vid for years (Ace the Zombie aside, since he's actually a demon and doesn't eat brains). Yes, it's done with the ubiquitous transformation fantasy element in mind, but I pushed that out of the equation and pretended I was just making a decent CG zombie flick.

While I won't apologize for being successful and therefore supporting my other projects with B.E., I am intent on making the first half of Bimbo Vampires vs. Zombies (minus the possible prologue), a module of sorts that can be consumed and enjoyed by the pure zombie enthusiast. The second half - where the Bimbo Vampires come in - won't be a mindless series of B.E. morphs, but will tend to appeal to my usual audience more than the first half.

It's important that I stay true to those who have built this house that is Suckermouth with their love of everything B.E. and generously paid subscriptions, but to grow as an artist, I must become more clever in the way I deliver the usual and more adventurous in how often I pursue the unusual.

I can't thank Jennifer Hudock enough, who understood and believed in this project enough to donate her talents to the voice of Dr. Holder. I also want to thank my father and brother, who - as they did here - occasionally lend their voices to my vids when I grow sick of my own lispy mumbling.

By believing in a guy like me that basically built his brand with morphs, you help him grow into a filmmaker that's worthy of a larger audience (I hope). My ultimate goal - and an unabashedly unoriginal one - is to make beautiful emotional films.

You can watch the finished short here. Below the vid are some things I knew from the outset I wanted to do or add but just didn't have time for. That stuff will get added in for the feature length film.

First, what I did focus on: I wanted a couple of all-star zombies, though out of the six I made (not counting Steve the Infected Worker), the ones I planned as the stars didn't come out as cool as the ones planned as background zombies. Consequently, the far-too-scary fat lady zombie was moved to a central location (I wasn't initially thrilled with the buff male zombie Mr. Sterling's checking out, but he's grown on me).

I also modelled the facility and containment units myself, and put a lot of thought and discussion (with others) into the form and function of the location. This allowed me to create exactly what I wanted, as well as change things I didn't like on the spot.

The last thing I took care of an a filmmaker was trying to pull together a composition that held a false and strange beauty for the location of a zombie movie, while remaining sterile and dead.

Here's what I left out:

1) Other scientists, technicians, extras. I wanted the place to be a little more buzzing than it is, but adding all those extras would have slowed down every aspect of production and taken too much focus off the primary action and characters.

2) A transport system. I figure this place is so big it needs a transport system for both the living and the dead. I have a clever design sketched up that I think you will love (but you will have to wait until the feature for this). Like the extras, transports moving along the hallways would add life and realism to the scene.

3) Zombies reacting. I conceived a closeup of one of the zombie's opening her eyes when Steve hits the floor. I simply ran out of time, and will likely add some more ominous zombie movement to this scene in the final film.

4) Background sounds and music. Other than the BVvZ theme during the credits, the vid is noticeably without music or sound effects. It seemed silly at this stage to add these elements since the driving visuals (other workers, vehicles) for these sounds are not yet present. The music will likely be added after I see how the sound effects come together.

5) Elaborate key-framing of character movement. Sometimes, I take it on myself to actually be a good "animator" and spend hours and hours key-framing each body part down to the individual digits, running preview animations and redoing my work until I'm satisfied that realistic movement has been achieved. This kind of work is necessary and valuable, but a process unto itself, and here I had to make the sacrifice. Admittedly, while the movement is stiff and action-figure like at times, some things I thought I would hate came out well enough they shouldn't require much tweaking (Steve collapsing, for example).

6) More lights. Lights increase render time exponentially, so - to avoid thirty-hour renders - less had to be more. By the time I re-cut this in a year or two, it'll be that much quicker with advances in software and hardware (and other tricks I might learn by then).

Well, that's it. It's important to understand when you make your own CG vids in a week, perfection is rarely the immediate goal. I hope you enjoy these results nonetheless, and thanks again to Jenny, Jon, and Dad!

No comments:

Post a Comment