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Still Falls the Rain - a film by Miguel Santana


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#1
Miguel

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Here we go again! Thread for my third year film.

Title:

"Still Falls the Rain" (it's the title of a wartime poem about the London Blitz, also relevant in terms of subtext in the closing scene)

Premise:

It's the story of a homeless teenage boy and his struggle to survive wartime London during the 1940s. He is caught stealing food from a recently bombed house, and part of the film takes place in the alleyways and passages of East London, as the boy attempts to evade the policeman who spotted him looting the house. After he runs into a dead end, he must face the officer and decide just how far he's willing to go in order to escape and survive. With a few twists and turns along the way, of course ; )

Themes:

Independence, Survival, Guilt.

Production Information:

The film should run at about 4 minutes long, and is to be shot on two days, on the last weekend of October. The total budget is £3000, a lot of which is already secured by personal funding, as well as sponsors. I'm also planning a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo.com

It will be shot on the RED Epic camera (already booked), capable of shooting 5k video images, and up to 320 frames per second for slow-motion. Other films currently being shot on this camera include the new Spiderman and The Hobbit.

In terms of script, it's being mentored by Richard Jobson, a well known british Director (New Town Killers).

Also, a well known british DOP Philip Bloom (recently filmed some of George Lucas' Red Tails) has shown interest in the project, but this is still being negotiated.

Shooting is set to be on the last weekend of October, which will allow me roughly 6/7 months of post-production.

The Visual Effects Proposal:

A lot of it will be cleaning out the modern parts of london, to make them look as they did back in the 40s. A lot of bomb damage too, which will be done through projections and texture work. A lot of the work is similar to the environmental pieces in the recent Sherlock Holmes film, and I've been lucky enough (and encouraged!) to open up scene files at MPC, to see the ins and outs of that type of work. Had a few chats with some of the artists too, who gave me some insight into doing this type of thing successfully.

Research:

I've been very busy reading this summer!!

Posted Image

References/Inspiration:

Obviously in terms of VFX, films such as Sherlock Holmes, Sweeny Todd, Dorian Gray etc, and the short film Nuit Blanche. Some of the images that really excited me, and made me want to bring this world to life were the following:

http://www.life.com/...n-color#index/1

http://www.life.com/...n-color#index/7

http://www.life.com/...n-color#index/8

http://www.howtobear...olution-colour/

Plus many many more, would be silly to post them all up here. If anyone has any useful references, post them up please!

Also, I went out to Tottenham the day after the riots to capture some of the aftermath, lots of good texture stuff (though these were just the more arty photos for my blog)

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Music:

I have a very very talented composer working with me on this, he scored one of my all time favourite animations (The Ark). There will be a full orchestral recording session for the film's OST, which excites the hell out of me, almost more than the camera.

Early Concept:

Just a photoshop montage of about three images, showing the type of scene I pictured for the opening of the film, as the boy watches his home burn (Mario might be doing the fire).

Note, it will not be in black and white! That's just how the original reference images were. Also, his house is not that regal, just that picture was close enough in terms of angle and fire.

Posted Image

A lot of storyboarding to come in the next week or two!

Edited by Miguel, 27 August 2011 - 09:31 PM.


#2
Timek9

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*subscribed.

looking forward to this, matey.

#3
plasmax

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That kid is HUGE

Just kidding. This has the potential for epic win. Red camera seems a bit like overkill for a student film, but who wouldn't want to give it a try?

Best of luck.

#4
Miguel

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That kid is HUGE

Just kidding. This has the potential for epic win. Red camera seems a bit like overkill for a student film, but who wouldn't want to give it a try?

Best of luck.


Hahah yeah, I'm really not sure how big he comes across for first viewers, does it look wrong?

Yeah, you know, I didn't really want to shoot Red One. they're big, and heavy, and a lot of this will be run & gun work. Though the new Epic is much smaller, a lot more like a DSLR. I really wanted to try and shoot 5d, which I already own, but the moire/aliasing on brick patterns was just unacceptable. Plus, with shooting a higher res, there's a lot more room to stabilize (therefore crop) in post, if I want to deliver at 2k/1080p for film festivals worldwide. It's going to be a super lightweight, shoulder mounted rig to avoid having to get permits by sticking down a tripod.

Then when I got the ridiculously low quote of £900 for a weekend (they should go for over 1000 a day!), I just had to take it :)

Plus, I don't want to restrict quality by labelling it a 'student film', I'd love to think it can just be a great short film! (if nothing goes wrong :) ) Last chance I ever get to do my own thing, you know. For the forseeable future anyway. Why not go out with a bang, even if it fails epicly :)

Edited by Miguel, 27 August 2011 - 09:59 PM.


#5
plasmax

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Hahah yeah, I'm really not sure how big he comes across for first viewers, does it look wrong?


There are a few things you can do to make it less noticeable -
> The guy in the background is on the same ground plane as the boy so instinctively he feels much larger than the man.
> The pillars on the right are what lead you to the comparison, they effectively measure the man's height at the elbow and meet the boy's ankles compositionally - if you draw out the perspective line you have to triple the image width to the point where it matches the boy's elbow. You could remove this detail or move the man away from perspective lines to avoid this problem.
> A couple of thin flat/horizontal lines behind him would help to sell the distance. Maybe mess with the distortion of the background, a wide angle lens effect might work better.

Without giving anything away, what are your intentions for the viewers' attitude towards this boy? Little boy lost? Claustrophobic and busy wartime london where he's trapped? If it's the first one, more negative space above him might help make him look more dejected. If it's the other, you might want to trap him in frame with a bridge or the like. Love it in black and white, I wonder if it'll come across as powerfully in colour?

Yeah, you know, I didn't really want to shoot Red One. they're big, and heavy, and a lot of this will be run & gun work. Though the new Epic is much smaller, a lot more like a DSLR. I really wanted to try and shoot 5d, which I already own, but the moire/aliasing on brick patterns was just unacceptable. Plus, with shooting a higher res, there's a lot more room to stabilize (therefore crop) in post, if I want to deliver at 2k/1080p for film festivals worldwide. It's going to be a super lightweight, shoulder mounted rig to avoid having to get permits by sticking down a tripod.

Then when I got the ridiculously low quote of £900 for a weekend (they should go for over 1000 a day!), I just had to take it :)


Makes complete sense. A quote from VFXTalk: "The only way to get rid of moiré patterns will involve bashing the image until it is unrecognizably blurry."

Plus, I don't want to have it be a 'student film', I'd love to think it can just be a great short film, if nothing goes wrong! Last chance I ever get to do my own thing, you know. For the foreeable future anyway. Why not go out with a bang, even if it fails epicly :)


Student films can be amazing and have won many awards... sometimes they're even more appreciated when someone says, "wow, a student did that?!" But I can understand wanting to brand your creation in a more professional light... it might help get it accepted to more festivals. If you're into that sort of thing. :)

#6
Miguel

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Cool, nice one max. You know, I didn't even notice the little guy near the building :)

Yeah, that opening shot will set the tone of the film, he's alone in a hostile world. Obviously this is a portrait image (literally just threw a silhouette from two halves of a body to make the guy, onto the photo that's the bg), but if you were to crop it in video format, I did envision it having a lot of head room, to show he has the weight of the world pressing down on him.

#7
plasmax

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Hope you won't be offended; just did a small OP, I like to check the advice I'm giving visually. I think the main culprit was that he was lighter than some parts of the background, especially with all that smoke.

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#8
Miguel

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Haha no, of course not! Looks good, thanks Max :)

#9
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Looks very interesting indeed :) 11/10 for epic ambition and +500 points for shooting the film in semester A :)I don't know if you need to generate some 3D mesh for ruined silhouettes of buildings, but I came up with something that Ben Merrick used in his film Rain of DeathHe needed to make a lot of background buildings fast, so I drew some silhouette images (black and white only) of the shapes he wanted, and we applied these to a plane in 3DSMax with a lot of polygons (100x100 setting at least) and put the images inside a displace modifier and then used them to displace the mesh - which was fine until we looked at the polycount... rather high... so I then added an Optimize modifier (ProOptimize would be better these days) but when it reduced polys it tended to damage the look of the mesh - so I then added edit poly, set it to select polygons by angle and set the angle to about 5 degrees and ctrl selected the flat areas of the mesh (the non displaced parts and the flat sides of walls) and add the optimise to just them - that really knocked the polygons down and preserved the detail of the silhouette edges. Having made about ten of these, it was easy to rotate them 90 degrees and clone them (we might have done this in Pflow, I can't remember, maybe Ben will chip in if he sees this) and use them to make up a variety of wrecked backgrounds that looked good for background to midground range (at night!)

#10
RandomViper41

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I like the idea but to make it good your going to have to spend as much dollar as last year tbh as a costume house near me charge 40 - 70 quid per week for tv/ film quality costumes but I assume you have thought about this........ apart from that I love the era, dont give up on the idea....

#11
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Ben Merrick used in his film Rain of Death



Yeah that worked well- just a shame I did not get time to put the project together properly and comp it all in to make them look good! My film annoys me to this day at how much it could be improved in places- had so many problems with the scene being insanely big for the one camera shot, and another 2 films i was going to make for a 3 part project wasting my time/not getting finished. Am currently re-making key shots of this!



Back to your film Miguel- I love the idea, WWII air raids produced some amazing imagery- probably the only good thing to come out of it! I scanned in 5 massive books worth of images from Reading library, I could give them to Dave Milligan for you for when he comes back to uni if you want? Can also give you a list of the old WWII films I found most useful. I know you have a lot of research and books already but you can never have too many.

Edited by s_purs, 28 August 2011 - 08:36 AM.


#12
Miguel

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Thank you Martin, there may have to be some if that indeed, for one shot in particular. It does sound quite ambitious, but this time I'll be enlisting people rather than working mainly alone, and will have about 6-7 months of post instead of 1.5! after the storyboards I'll start to see just how much work is needed in VFX, may need to change the story so it's more realistic in terms of what I can achieve, but hopefully there won't be a big compromise.

Mark, yeah, it's costing double last year's film, but almost got all the funding I need! Got the 1940s police uniform quoted at £70 for the week.

Ben, that would be fantastic, thank you! I didn't realise your film existed :)

Ah so it's the blitz also? Is the church imagery representing the whole St Pauls surviving the bombs? Interesting :)

Edited by Miguel, 28 August 2011 - 08:45 AM.


#13
MarkW

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You probably already know this but when you shoor turn everything to manual, reduce the contrast , sharpness down as far as you can go and reduce the saturation down half way. This means when you come to grading you have a lot more colour info to play with.

#14
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Ben, that would be fantastic, thank you! I didn't realise your film existed :)

Ah so it's the blitz also? Is the church imagery representing the whole St Pauls surviving the bombs? Interesting :)


Yeah the ideas and concept behind my film (and the other 2 which I didnt finish) were far better than the final outcome sadly. I also spent a lot of time working on other films with 3rd years and doing some other work- which in the end did made the quality of my film suffer a lot- also trying to render out all of that in one continuous camera movement, mainly on my home computer in the space of a couple of weeks did not work out too well! Hence me wanting to remake parts of it now to give it some justice.

From all of the research I did I brought together various elements and imagery that stood out for me and tried to capture the feeling and beautiful imagery that was left over after the tragic events.

I will give it to Dave today if he comes into work.

#15
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Ah ok, sounds like this has been planned quite a while back then! If you need props and things from my own research I found a place in hertfordshire called Keeley hire, they did the props (boxes, old bikes, think they do 2 rubber guns ..ect..) in saving private ryan and if you needed old guns the nearest place (well to me) is pinewood armoury.... These places seem to be the best after searching when I was going to do my own film..... hope this helps...





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