Dogfight Animatic

We made some progress on the movie this week, but not much was picture-worthy so we don't have much to show for our efforts.

Brad's schedule finally opened up, so he brought his PC over and we got him setup to help me with all of the CG. It will be SOOOO nice to have some help with all of this. Hopefully we'll make a lot more progress now that I'm not the only one working on the overwhelming amount of CG we have in this movie.

As mentioned last week, I also re-edited some of the Darth Vader live footage to match Garry's ADR. It looks a LOT better! It's amazing how small improvements can make such a big difference.

I only had time to create 1 new dogfight animatic last week. Here are screenshots, along with their "Star Wars" reference pictures:

In this 1st shot, Brad's Jedi Starfighter zooms towards the camera with a TIE Defender in pursuit.
Sorry about the overlapping images in the "Star Wars" reference picture. Adobe Premiere Elements has a bug where it sometimes take a screenshot 1-frame BEFORE where it's supposed to, so that's why this screenshot still shows the dissolve from the previous scene.

In this 2nd screenshot, a 2nd TIE Defender has dropped into frame, joining the pursuit. In the final shot, both TIE Defenders will be shooting at the Jedi Starfighter.

In this last screenshot, the 2nd TIE Defender zooms past the camera as it pursues the Jedi Starfighter.

That's it. Like I said, not much picture-worthy stuff last week. :( However, now that Brad's helping me out, we should have a lot more pictures since I can post pictures of both Brad's work and my work.



Dogfight Animatics and Darth Vader

I created 2 more dogfight animatics this week.

Here's a 2-shot sequence from Scene D237, along with its corresponding "Star Wars" reference footage:

In this 1st screenshot, the TIE Defender flies towards the camera while shooting at Brad's Jedi Starfighter (off-camera). Laser bolts will be added later.

Here's another screenshot after the TIE Defender has gotten closer to the camera. This will look a lot cooler after Brad rotoscopes laser bolts.

Here's a 4-shot sequence from Scene D239, along with its corresponding "Revenge of the Sith" reference footage:

In this 1st screenshot, Brad's Jedi Starfighter is starting a counter-clockwise loop.
In the "Revenge of the Sith" reference shot (2nd picture, above), I drew a red arrow to show the Jedi Starfighter that I used as a reference, since there are so many ships in that shot.

In the 2nd screenshot, Brad's Jedi Starfighter is a little past the halfway point in the counter-clockwise loop.

In the 3rd screenshot, Brad's Jedi Starfighter is coming out of the loop.

And in this last screenshot, Brad's Jedi Starfighter zooms past the camera.

In addition to CG, we shot some live footage -- well, audio anyway. I definitely saved the best for last, because you guys are going to LOVE these video clips!

Garry, Sarah's old boss, looped our Darth Vader dialog. Here's a behind-the-scenes picture showing our state-of-the-art voice effects (aka "cardboard tube"):

It's kind of hard to tell, but the boom arm is on the bottom-right of the picture and the mic is being pointed at the end of the cardboard tube. Garry's son, David, did a great job keeping the mic in the correct position -- not an easy task because Garry would move the cardboard tube around while he was recording his lines. It's pretty funny to watch. :D

Anyway, laugh at our cardboard tube technique, but you can't argue with the results! Check this out -- the 1st video is my old (temporary) ADR, and the 2nd video is the new ADR with Garry's voice:

That last word that got cut off is "destination." Our actual animatic is fine, but for some reason when I render to Quicktime format, the audio gets screwed up. :(

Here's another before-and-after sample:

Absolutely amazing! Is it just me, or did Darth Vader suddenly become ALIVE in our movie?

Finding a good Darth Vader voice was extremely difficult. I gave it a shot, Jay gave it a shot, and Brad even recruited some people on Star Wars Fan Film Forums. Nothing was usable until last night. When we were recording Garry's dialog, Sarah and I would look at each other after a good take and smile at each other -- we knew we finally had our Darth Vader voice! It was a great feeling.

Since we shot the Darth Vader live footage about a year before recording Garry's ADR, the action and the dialog don't match-up 100%. So... I need to go back to the original Darth Vader raw footage, re-edit it to match Garry's ADR, then re-render. I'll probably do that next week.

Also, there are only 3 more dogfight animatics that need to be completed, so I'll try to work on those next week too.



TIE Fighter Pilot and Dogfight Animatics

Looking at last week's dogfight animatic, I realized that the TIE Defender flies so close to the camera that you can tell there isn't a pilot in the cockpit!

So... I fixed it. Here are before-and-after shots:

It's harder to tell in this compressed image, but if you look carefully, you can see a TIE Pilot in the 2nd picture.

I went back and reviewed every shot in our dogfight animatic to see if I had to add TIE Pilots to any other shots. As it turns out, I added TIE Pilots to several shots. Here's an example:

Again, you can barely tell in these compressed images, but there's a TIE Pilot in that 2nd picture.

Since the compression and motion blur make it hard to see the TIE Pilot in the animatics, here's what he looks like by himself (before I stuck him in the TIE Defender cockpit):

The 1st picture shows the TIE Pilot facing 5 o'clock so that you can see him from the front.
The 2nd picture shows the TIE Pilot facing 2 o'clock so that you can see the detail in his chair. No one will ever see this detail, but it was in the 3D model we used and it looks great, so I kept it.

Here are before-and-after shots of our master TIE Defender model:

And here are close-ups of the TIE Pilot in the cockpit:

In the 1st picture, I lit those blue lights on his chest box. However, after doing some research, I realized that those blue squares should NOT be lit, so I turned them off in the 2nd picture.

I also created a quick dogfight animatic of R7:

The 1st picture will be refined significantly before it's final. As beautiful as they are, neither the Jedi Starfighter nor R2-D2 models were made for these kinds of close-ups so we'll have to add geometry, improve the texture maps, etc.
The 2nd picture is a reference shot from "Revenge of the Sith."

Well, that's it for this week. It was another busy week, so I didn't get to work on the movie as much as I'd hoped.

Next week, Garry Hobday (Sarah's old boss) is going to loop Darth Vader's lines for us, so we'll finally be able to replace my crappy dialog!

Also, if I get a chance, I'll bang out more dogfight animatics, but no promises. ;)



Another Dogfight Animatic, and Holographic Dancing Girl Variations

It's been a busy week, so I didn't spend much time working on the movie. :(

In fact, I only had time to create 1 new dogfight animatic. Here's a 3-shot sequence showing our animatic and its corresponding "Revenge of the Sith" reference photo.

In this shot, a TIE Defender rotates clockwise as it drops-down into frame:

Here's a few frames later, as the TIE Defender zooms along:

Then a 2nd TIE Defender rotates clockwise and drops into frame, joining its wingman:

This is such a close shot that you can tell the cockpit is empty, so I'm going to add a CG TIE Pilot and re-render this animatic.

Also, people have been asking to see Amy's holographic dancing girl footage, so I created short video clips of all 4 versions that I tried.

Here's Version #1 (aka "green girl with blue streaks of light"):

Here's Version #2 (aka "light beam silhouette"):

Here's Version #3 (aka "light beam silhouette with echo"):

Here's Version #4 (aka "light beam silhouette with echo and blue streaks of light"):

Now you guys can see what I was talking about in the last blog post. Even though I lowered the opacity of the blue streaks of light, it's still too busy.

Unfortunately, that's all I have this week. Hopefully I'll have more time next week to bang out some stuff.